Friday, August 29, 2014

Slow-Cooked/ Caramelized Onions 慢煮洋葱

Unlike raw onions that are often pungent and sharp, slowly-cooked (or caramelized) onions are mellow and subtly sweet. There are two essential ingredients to caramelized onions - one being onion and the other, T-I-M-E.


It will take more than 15 minutes (or more than 30 minutes for perfect caramelization) and may not sound like a lot of time but IT IS, consider this being just ONE component to this homemade bibimbap made from many other components. The sauteed onions made here is not meant to be perfectly-caramelized and works fine for this purpose.

Slow-Cooked Onions 慢煮洋葱
Indeed, expect no haste when making caramelized onions. Slow and steady wins the race. Add a little cooking oil to the pan, start with high heat, add the onions, hear the sizzle, lower the heat to medium and wait. Occasionally, give the pan a good shake to ensure the onions don't stick to the pan (and burn); alternatively gently turn the onions with a cooking ladle to prevent sticking. Salt (pinches will do) the onions in the process to flavor the onions, and extract the sweetness out from the onions.



Occasional supervision is also required to ensure that onions are not burnt. Burnt onions will taste bitter compared to caramelized onions that taste sweet.


Another tip to speed up the cooking is to cover the pan, allowing the steam to cook the onions; however you have to lift up the cover and release the steam once in a while so that the onions mixture does not turn watery in line with the ultimate goal to get caramelized, tender-sweet onions. Still, some "eyeballing" is necessary.


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