why do onions get sweet when cooked
People use onions for the flavor. You may have noticed that not only do many recipes include onions, but there often a few other ingredients as well at the start of the recipe - specifically the addition of carrots and celery, or carrots and green pepper. These ingredients appear in many recipes because they offer a balanced flavor to build other recipes on:
In France, carrots, onions, and celery is called Mirepoix In Italy, carrots, onions, and celery is called Soffritto In Cajun and Creole-style cooking, it's carrots, onions, and green peppers, and it's called the Holy Trinity In Germany, it's carrots, leeks, and celery root and it's Suppengrцn This article has some good info about Mirepoix and worldwide variations of this flavor base across a few countries.
If you hadn't noticed, all the countries listed in the article are European or had strong European influence. So if you don't like this trio of flavor, you will need to look outside of European style food. I can already think of a few Middle Eastern/Mediterranean recipes that use garlic, but no onion. Korean recipes that use garlic, and only green onions. Japanese food doesn't really use onion or garlic, and Ethiopian food has some but not too much onion.
Some recipes may have onions that have been stewed so long (2+ hours) they've become mushy and don't taste like onion at all. You could also try submerging them in a brine to change the flavor. You might have luck there. Lastly, you might try changing the type of onion you use. There are many different varieties of onions, from leeks to spring onions, to cippolinis to ramps. If you don't want to skip a recipe entirely, maybe you can use a milder onion instead, so it's a less intense flavor than what you'd get from a white or yellow onion. (You could also try soaking your onions, or try to modify the flavor by putting them in some kind of brine or pickling liquid.
Pickling liquids can be based on salt or vinegar, and can be sour or sweet. That would obviously change the final taste of your recipe. ) I don't know if there's a way to use a recipe that calls for onions and not feel that there's a flavor missing. I don't think there's a substitute, except using another type of onion/garlic. Here s a recipe for you, but it takes some time to do it properly! Take a few onions and chop em up. fry them in butter until they become translucent and then turn the heat down. now comes the long part. if you leave them but stir them occasionally they will eventually (can take a good couple of hours on a low heat) become the most sweetest of oniony chutneys.
They will be dramatically reduced to something like a fifth of their original volume. There is a short cut where you keep the heat relatively high. stir often and add some sugar/honey or even apricot jam. but don t burn them! Great served with cold meat or in a cheese sandwich. it really is quite intense. take a chomp out of a raw onion and it s eye watering joy!!. but cook em. and they become sweet!!. the question is. where does the sweetness come from?.
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