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Learn How to Cook Vegetables for Sunday Dinner - Onions
Part 1 of my Series of Instructions to Beginners on How to Cook Vegetables Properly
When I first left home, I didn't have any idea how to cook - I was brought up in Africa in a household with a cook, and was barely allowed in the kitchen at all, in case I got in his way. So getting married in England and having to learn cookery from sratch at the age of twenty was quite a culture shock. All I could do was make toast and boil an egg.
I'm sure that lots of people start adult life with very little knowledge of how to cook basic food, so this article will explain what you need to know to cook vegetables properly - vegetables which are neither underdone nor cooked to death.
There is also a Poll and a Quiz about Onions, and an amazing musical vegetable video.
Here's a Peeled and Cut Onion Showing its Structure
About the Onion:
The Onion is a good vegetable to use to flavour stews and soups, or you can roast it as an accompaniment for meat. It is used as a popular vegetable all over the world - an ingredient of curry, stir-fries and many sauces.
The outer parchment-like leaves are inedible, so the onion should be peeled by stripping them off with a sharp knife.
You can find out more about the health benefits of onions in a separate article.
Lightly Fried Onion
For soup, stews or fried onions:
- Slice the onion in half, and then slice it or chop it into small pieces.
- Then add a tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan, and fry the onion on a moderate heat until golden brown - about 5 minutes
- It can then be added to your soup or stew pot, to mix with the other ingredients.
Crispy Fried Onion:
If you want plain fried onion, as an accompaniment to burgers, cook it on a slightly higher heat to make it a bit crispy, stirring it, to prevent it sticking to the pan or burning.
Browning an Onion by frying in a pan until a bit crispy
To give your stews and soups a stronger flavour:
- Add a clove of garlic and a 1" slice of ginger.
- Both of these should be peeled first, and then crushed, either in a garlic crusher or with something flat, like the handle of your kitchen knife - this brings out the juices and aroma.If
Fresh Onion, Ginger and Cloves of Garlic
Tip: If you want a quick short-cut, you can buy bottled crushed garlic, crushed ginger or a mixture of crushed ginger and garlic
Whilst they taste slightly more bland than the fresh product, they are very popular and easy to use, saving time and, of course, washing up. I use them myself when I'm in a hurry.
This is What Bottled Garlic and Ginger Looks Like - Price varies but you can get it anywhere
I always keep a bottle of ginger garlic paste in my fridge, to use when I'm in a hurry or not in the mood to peel and chop these things myself.
- Peel a medium-sized onion
- Place it on a baking tray
- Pour or spray about a teaspoonful of cooking oil over it
- Add a little salt
- cook it in the oven, medium heat for about 45 minutes, until brown, basting it with oil once or twice ("basting" just means covering it with oil).
- You can cook roast potatoes and meat in the same baking tray, with some extra cooking oil, as the onion flavours the meat and potatoes.
I haven't overlooked red onions - but the method of cooking is the same as that of cooking brown onions.
Red onions are slightly sweeter than brown onions, and very nice when roasted. Personally I don't think you can taste much difference between red or brown onions in stews and other recipes, so, as red onions are usually a bit more expensive, at least in England, where I live, I don't normally use them, except for an occasional roast dinner, when I buy just a few.
Try this Quiz About Onions
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This is Amazing - Vegetable Orchestra
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Are you just learning how to cook, or are you quite experienced?
Now See More Easy Vegetable Recipes
- Camembert Leek and Pancetta Tart - Quick & Easy Recipe
Camembert Leek and Pancetta Tart is a rustic French dish, very quick and easy to make, and suitable for an inexperienced cook to have a try. Use ready-made puff pastry to save time and mess.
- How to Cook Vegetables - Potatoes, Carrots, Swedes and Parsnips
How to Cook Vegetables Properly - Part 2 in my Series
- Learn How to Cook Vegetables - Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower Broccoli
Part 3 in my series - "How to Cook Vegetables Properly"
- How to Make Easy Stuffed Eggplant or Aubergine
Crispy, aromatic Baked Stuffed Aubergine - use as a starter, a main course, delicious vegetarian dish or with meat.
- Getting Your Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: Practical Tips
Tips for parents on getting kids to eat fruit and vegetables.
Finally, a Labour-Saving Tip:
When I peel onions for cooking, I often peel more than is required, chop it up and put it in a small container in the fridge or freezer. Then if I need it for sandwiches, salad or any other appropriate recipe, I have it immediately to hand. Or sometimes I cook more onion than is needed and store it to use in dishes later - with tomatoes to make a tomato sauce for pasta, or to add to other vegetables to add flavor to a sauce or stew.