How to Mince Shallots

How to Mince Shallots

Mincing shallots might take a lot of time, if you do not know the right technique to mince them. The following Tastessence article will tell you some techniques to mince shallots.
Tastessence Staff
A shallot can be a great ingredient in your recipe, but if you do not mince them right, they will not cook evenly, and you might end up being disappointed with your cooking. So, you should dice them properly to ensure that they get cooked evenly. Mincing shallots is not a difficult task, you can learn it like a pro, if you follow the steps mentioned below.

Step 1: Trimming the Root Hair
Shallots and onions are quite similar, and like onions, shallots also have rootlets. If the shallot has long root hair, and you do not trim them before dicing them, they might get mixed with the minced shallot; you do not want that to happen, right? So, you should trim the rootlets of the shallot before you start cutting it. You can use a chef's knife to trim the root hair. You might be tempted to cut the entire root end, but you should not give in to this temptation. Keeping the root end intact helps you mince the shallot easily.

Step 2: Peeling the Shallot
Once you have trimmed the rootlets, you can start peeling the shallot. Here is something that you should do to make the peeling process easier. Take the shallot in one hand, and the chef's knife in the other. Now, carefully cut the stem end of the shallot. Now, start peeling the shallot. Your direction of peeling should be from the stem end to the root end.

Step 3: Making Two Halves
Your next task is to cut the shallot into 2 halves. Why to cut? Dicing one half of the shallot is more convenient than mincing an uncut shallot. How to cut the shallot? Take a cutting board, and place the shallot on it such that the stem end lies on the board. Now, place the sharp edge of the knife in the middle of the root end, and just cut the shallot. You will see that you have 2 halves of the shallot on the cutting board.

Step 4: Dicing the Shallot
I have divided this step into 2 parts:

Part 1
Take one half of the shallot, and place it close to the edge of the cutting board, such that the shallot is close to you, and the flat side of the half touches the cutting board. Keeping the shallot close to the edge facilitates the free movement of your hand while cutting the shallot. If the shallot was not near the edge, then your hand (with the knife) might hit the board when you try to dice the shallot. Hold the root end of the half shallot on the cutting board with your non-dominant hand (the stem end should face you). Press the shallot downwards. Now, take the knife in your other hand, and place the sharp edge on the shallot, perpendicular to the root edge. Now, carefully make parallel cuts on the shallot. Do not cut all the way to the cutting board, and try to make cuts at equal distances.

Part 2
If you did not go wrong in part 1, then you will not have any problem in this part. Rotate the root end towards you, such that the cuts which you made earlier are parallel to you. Grip the root end firmly, and place the knife on the shallot, close and parallel, to the stem edge. Now, start cutting the shallot. If possible, leave an equal gap between every cut, and this time each cut should reach the surface of the cutting board. Keep cutting till you reach the root end.

Repeat part 1 and part 2, for the second half of the shallot.

Similarly you can mince other shallots. Your mincing speed will increase with time, so do not feel bad if you take a long time to dice the first shallot. One last thing; be careful while handling the knife.