Radial Onion Dice
There is more than one way to dice an onion. The technique that works best is the one the feels most natural to your hands. For me, as for many, that tecnique is the radial onion dice.
I use the classic straight up and down cut also, but the radial onion dice has a more natural feel for my hands. The radial cut is the first cut to start the dice. For the first slice, the knife is at about a 20 degree angle to the board and forms a slice that looks like a wedge.
A very sharp knife is key here for getting good results and a sharp knife is less likely to slip and cause an accidental hand cut. It also gives a nice clean cut. A clean cut reduces the amount of gas and liquid released from cutting so your eyes may not tear up as much if you are sensitive to that sulfuric acid that is produced.
Some grocery stores will sharpen knives for free or for a nominal charge. Sometimes knife sharpeners set up a stand at Farmers Markets. Local hardware stores and kitchen supply stores sometimes offer a knife sharpening service. The cost is usually based on the knife length. It is well worth it to keep your knives sharp. Cooking prep is so much easier and more fun.
- Cut the root side off leaving some of the root intact to hold the onion together as you begin the cuts.
- Cut the stem side off, about 1/4 inch, to give a flat surface
- Place the flat side on the board and cut the onion in half vertically.
- Peel off the papery skin.
- Lay the flat side of the halved onion on the board and begin the radial cuts making 1/4in wedges. At this point don’t cut all the way through the root.The knife should be at about a 20 degree angle from the board for the first slice, at about a 40 degree or so for the second and so on. It will be about 8–10 radial wedge cuts depending on the size of the onion.
- For a smaller dice cut though horizontally top to bottom about 3 rows.
- Now slice vertically from top to bottom until the knife is about 3/4in from the root of the onion. Curl your fingers under such that your knuckles rub the side of the knife keeping your fingers safe.The root end piece can be cut further as shown in the video above or set aside for use in making vegetable stock later.
- This should be fine for most dishes, but if smaller dice is wanted continue chopping on the board.
- Time to scoop up those onion pieces and transfer to your pan. The pastry cutter makes a great scooping tool for diced onions and other vegetables.