Last Updated : Nov 28,2022

What are Shallots, Madras Onions? Glossary | Uses, Benefits | Recipes
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Also Known as
Madras Onions

What is shallots, Madras onions?

Shallots the most common variety of shallots are similar in appearance to baby onions, but are more oval in shape, and often have a pair of smaller bulbs inside the brown skin. The flesh is usually pinker than that of brown skinned onions. The shallot is a relative of the onion, and tastes a bit like an onion but has a sweeter, milder flavor. They are more expensive than onions. Unlike onions where each plant normally forms a single bulb, shallots form clusters of offsets, rather in the manner of garlic.

Chopped shallots
Select a sharp knife. Before you begin, peel off the layer of papery skin as you can. Pull off any hairy roots, too. Place the onion on a chopping board and cut into halve using a sharp knife. Place one Madras onion halve flat on the chopping board and make thin/ thick slices lengthwise. Holding all the slices together, chop at regular intervals horizontally (approximately 1/2 inch in diameter) to get chopped shallots. If the recipe calls for finely chopped, then make smaller pieces.

How to select shallots, Madras onions

Shallots can be bought at most supermarkets. In the supermarket, shallots are in the fruit and vegetable section close to garlic or onions. Shallots are packed per 10 to 12 bulbs in a net or bag. Shallots can also be bought loose. Always select firm and fresh shallot. You can tell an old shallot by a yellowy-white or green shoot growing from the head. Avoid packaging containing any rotten shallots.

Culinary Uses of shallots, Madras onions

· They can be used the same way as brown skinned and pickling / baby onions, but, because they have a more subtle flavour, are preferred by those preparing French cuisine.
· Due to its high pungency a raw shallot has a more pronounced taste than an onion. When a shallot is sautéed, the sugars caramelize. This gives the shallots a sweeter taste than an onion.
· Finely sliced deep-fried shallots are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine.

How to store shallots, Madras onions

In general, shallots are easy to store with excellent storage properties. Shallots prefer a cool, dry place such as the vegetable drawer of the fridge, the cellar, a shed or utility room. Do not store shallots in a plastic bag; good air circulation is very important. If kept dark and dry, shallots can be stored for many weeks. Peeled, whole shallots can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to a week.

Health benefits of shallots, Madras onions

Raw onions are a very valuable source of vitamin C – the immune building vitamin. Along with other phytonutrients from onions, it helps to build WBC (white blood cells) which serves as a line of defence against illness. Yes, it’s a source of many antioxidants, the most important one amongst them being Quercetin. The quercetin in Onions promotes production of HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers total cholesterol in the body. The sulphur in onions act as a blood thinner and prevents blood clotting too. This in turn would lower blood pressure and good for heart diabetics. Read the benefits of onions

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