24.12.07

Sweating your onions?


This will be the first of the series of cooking tips. They are really simple tips to follow. And you'll be amazed how they make your food tastier. Do let me know if you have better ideas.

SWEATING YOUR ONIONS
You may have seen this term in cookbooks and cooking programmes. But it is actually a very simple concept which you can master in a short time.
Sweating simply means the breaking down of food sugars. You can apply this knowledge to any vegetables. You will know when you have successfully sweated your onions when they taste sweet without the addition of sugar. Sweating soft vegetables like onions or leeks or tomatoes take a shorter time whilst hard vegetables like carrots or cauliflowers take up to 20 minutes.

Step 1, Heat up your pan. Make sure you can feel the heat when you put your hand above it. (A sufficiently hot pan means that your vegetables will not stick and burn at the bottom of the pan.)

Step 2, Pour sufficient amount of oil into pan. This should be enough to coat your vegetables when you stir them in the oil. You can add more along the way. Insufficient oil will burn your vegetables. Too much and you will fry them. It takes some experience to gauge the correct amount.

Step 3, Add Butter (Optional). Pour onions into pan. If you have more than one type of vegetables, start with the hard vegetables first as they take longer. Stir the vegetables in the oil.

Step 4, Sprinkle Salt over the vegetables. This is the most important part to sweating and actually shortens the time taken. It makes the vegetables soft and moisture will be discharged from the vegetables. Thus "Sweating".

Step 5, Cover the pan. This cuts down the sweating time.

Step 6, Check and stir your vegetables occasionally to prevent burning them. Add oil if they appear dry. You can add more salt too. There is no need to add water.

Keep repeating Step 6 till vegetables taste sweet. Appear soft and translucent.

*This is a good base for making Onion Soup. *


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