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I don't get it- caramelizing onions looks like it would be so easy, right??? But somehow, I'm always fucking it up, every time. I watched this video online (the guy is kinda cute!) and thought alright, I can do this. WRONG!!!

It was all going so well- I chopped the onions, added oil, butter and brown sugar.
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I turned the heat on medium, often stirring the onions so nothing burns. The video dude told me that it would take about 30-40 minutes, and as he suggested, I waited patiently.

Minute 10:
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Minute 15. Starting to burn a little so I turn the heat down:
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I leave the kitchen for FIVE MINUTES and this is what I came back to:
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UGHHHHHH!!!! YAMAHOMO HELP ME!!!
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Don't worry though, I am not one to waste and ended up salvaging some onions to make chicken liver pate. That's a whole other post that I'll write soon- it's my new favorite thing.

But for now I'm spending the day making curry- I'm gonna attempt to caramelize onions for it, so wish me luck!!!
Column: Kitchen Follies
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5 comments

  • that's what the dude in the vid told me to do!!! if not that guy, then some other recipe. so are you saying that they burned cause of the sugar? will try it without next time, thanks for the tip.

    kayoko on

  • just curious why you added the brown sugar. the natural sugars in the sweet onion usually can create that yummy caramelization on their own and dont need the close monitoring that any added sugar would require:/

    Anonymous on

  • I've never added sugar before and I also don't leave the pan for more than 1 minute. Usually I'm just doing something else in the kitchen and I give it a shake or stir. I caramelize Vidalia onions too but that has lots of sugar.

    Copperchef on

  • Another vote on not adding sugar. If you must add some then doing so at a latter stage should not cause as much burning. Adding a little baking soda speeds the whole thing up: http://blog.khymos.org/2008/09/26/speeding-up-the-maillard-reaction/

    pheel on

  • Yeah, leaving kitchen while making caramelized onion is a big no no. But in the beginning of cooking, if you put a lid on the pan, you can leave for like 15 minutes. They get really tender and once you smell little burning, there's no leaving the stove until it's done. Kayoko, cooking is all about attention. Unless you are stewing or simmering something, you just have to be there. About sugar, I don't do it, but I heard it accelerate the process but I usually put it once it starts caramelizing.
    Having said that, the quickest way to caramelize onion is after you cut your onion, place them in collander and dump salt on, leave it for like 15 minutes. That will extract a LOT of water out of onion before cooking, and that saves a lot of time caramelizing.

    Yamahomo on

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