Tito Mboweni, the Twitter cooking sensation and also the former minister of finance, appears to be cooking again. Picture: Reuters
Tito Mboweni, the Twitter cooking sensation and also the former minister of finance, appears to be cooking again. Picture: Reuters

Tips for Tito: How to chop an onion finely when cooking tinned fish

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Sep 6, 2021

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Tito Mboweni, the Twitter cooking sensation and also the former minister of finance, appears to be cooking again.

Mboweni may have had his way with numbers, but the same cannot be said for his cooking skills – well, that's according to Twitter “chefs”.

This week, Mboweni took tweeps on a culinary tour where he cooked one of his favourite dishes, pap with tinned fish.

Since 2019, Mboweni has been known as the “minister of cooking”, as he has been sharing his recipes and showing off his cooking skills on social media. Mostly, he is teased about the amount of garlic he uses in his food, and how he doesn’t chop his vegetables finely enough, which could ruin the presentation of the meal.

And, sometimes, you want the flavour of onion without too much of the texture. You can achieve this effect by learning to chop the onion very finely. The humble onion can feel tricky to master when it comes to preparation, but learning the correct way to cut one can be achieved by a few simple and effective tips. It’s one of the most important cooking skills to learn, because often soups, stews and sauces start with chopped onion.

While preparing his meal, Twitter users were quick to comment that Mboweni needed to learn how to chop vegetables finely.

According to wikiHow, dicing an onion into small, uniform pieces is important, so the piee can cook evenly.

Easy tips shared on how to chop an onion finely:

Dicing the onion with a knife.

Cut 1⁄2 in (1.3 cm) from the top of the onion.

The top of the onion, or the stem, is the pointed end of the bulb. Set your onion on a cutting board, and measure down from the top of the stem by about 1⁄2 in (1.3 cm). Use a sharp knife to make a straight cut so you have a flat edge on top of your onion.

Halve the onion from top to bottom.

Set your onion down, so the side you just cut is face down on your cutting board. Place the blade of your knife in the middle of the root on top and cut straight through the onion, so you have two halves that are the same size.

Peel back the outer skin from each half of the onion.

The outer peel usually has a top layer that’s easy to remove and a second layer that’s more difficult to pull off. Rip the loose outer peel off and throw it away. Pick the edge of the next peel with your fingernail to separate it from the rest of the onion. Pull the peel back towards the root without removing it completely.

Cut straight lines toward the root of the onion.

Hold your onion by the peel near its root. Start on one side of the onion, placing the tip of your knife 1⁄2 in (1.3 cm) from the root. Make vertical cuts from the root toward the flat edge you cut earlier. Work your way across the onion, spacing each cut the same distance apart from one another.

Make 2 to 3 sideways cuts from the flat side.

Press down lightly on top of the onion and hold your knife, so the blade is parallel to the cutting board. Start cutting into the flat side of the onion 1⁄2 in (1.3 cm) up from the cutting board. Angle your knife slightly down, so you don’t cut toward your fingers. Just before you reach the root, pull your knife out of the onion. When you’re finished with the first cut, make cuts that are the same distance apart until you reach the top of the onion.

Slice the onion lengthwise to dice it.

Turn your onion, so the root is on the same side as your non-dominant hand. Put your fingertips on top of the onion, so the side of the knife blade touches your knuckles. Starting on the flat side, cut through the onion. After each cut, move your fingers back, so you can guide your knife. Make cuts until you reach the root.

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