As an Indian, I can tell you that most of the North-Indian food, particularly the food prepared in my Punjabi household is loaded with onions. Pick any dish, from rajma to chole and even the dry veggies like lady finger and cauliflower would need some amount onions to prep it up. This would have given you a rough idea of how crucial a role onions play in Indian cooking. Slice them, chop them or dice them, the point is that you cannot escape from adding them, though there are certain communities that refrain from eating onions like the Jains. 

Now, since we know that we cannot do without onions, this brings us to the next and most important problem, the onion tears. If you’ve paid a visit to the kitchen for something other than helping yourself with some food then you would know how pressing an issue it is. While chopping onions on most occasions, tears start to roll down our eyes within a few seconds. Have you ever wondered why? Scientifically speaking, as the onion is chopped, its cells get released which contain sulphur particles. When these particles come in contact with the water present in our eyes, it converts it into sulphuric acid. Our eyes react to this chemical release which results in tears. 

If you have tried all the ghar ke nuske (home remedies) and yet remain unsuccessful in conquering this territory, then we’ve got some easy tips and tricks for you in place. 

1.  Sharp Knives Over Blunt Ones 

Yes, this is true. Choosing the right kind of knife makes all the difference. A sharp knife not only eases the process of chopping onions but also allows less damage to their cells, which in turn prevents more chemicals from releasing into the air. 

2.  Burn An Open Flame 

Be it a candle flame or that from a gas stove, bring your onions closer to the flame and start slicing them. Martha Stewart is said to have validated the success of this hack, wherein the flame is believed to defuse some of the chemical before it reaches our tear glands. 

3.  Freeze The Onions 

Take the onions and freeze them in your refrigerator for a few minutes. This allows the onions to get cold and then the chilled onions, when sliced do not release as many chemicals as otherwise. 

4.  Chop Off The Top 

It is the roots of any plant that contain most of the enzymes. Now, if you want a slightly better chopping experience, then cutting off the top of the onion might be helpful. 

5.  Soak In Water For A Few Minutes 

This is the method that is usually practiced in my household too. Peel and chop off the ends of the onions and soak them in water. Take out after 15-20 minutes. This trick is believed to reduce the sulphuric components in onions but you might have to lose out on a little flavour too. 

Chopping onions is no more about crying, so here are some onion recipes at your disposal. 

1.  French Onion Soup 

This light and non-greasy onion soup works wonders for your taste buds and you wouldn’t have to worry about tears too. 

2.  Onion Bhajiyas 

The much-acclaimed Mumbai bhajiyas are here for you. Slice those onions and dip them in a gram flour batter to be deep-fried till they turn crisp and golden brown. 

3.  Onion Pulao 

This quick and easy pulao can be made in a jiffy in a pressure cooker. The long-grain rice is mixed with caramelized onions and the flavours are very clean and smooth.