Tuesday, August 25, 2015

When the sting is sharper than its pungency: 6 surefire ways to avert onion crisis in future

Forget the stock markets crashing, forget the Yuan devaluing, there's something more critical that needs our immediate attention! Yes, it’s the humble onions again that share the same volatile space with the Sensex and Nifty. This peculiar seasonal crisis affects the aam admi and the khaas admi alike. While chefs in the restaurant must be thinking of new ideas to manage the supply of onions, the roadside fast food and tiffin joints are wondering how to cope with this catastrophe. The aam janta is getting inked like we do in elections!

 If the trend continues, soon you’ll refer to your dear one as the ‘onion of your eye’ than the apple of your eyes and you might end up gifting bags of onions to your friends on special occasions! Can you imagine how it feels when your favorites like Masala Dosa , Sambar, or Ragda Chat, Raita, Green Salad and Pakodas will be compromised for some unlikely substitutes like cabbages? I fail to understand how cabbages can come anywhere close to onions in taste and texture, other than peeling the layers and the Sulphur content.

The situation seems to be really grave with the government intervening with different steps to control hoarding, stealing and other unfair ways.  So, now onions are also linked with Aadhar and what’s even surprising is the use of indelible ink to avoid any foul play.  How about some tips to combat the crisis and make sure that our precious tears are reserved for something better than onions!

Declare onion as the national vegetable of India: This should happen soon since no other vegetable qualifies for this title other than onions. Well, potatoes may come as a close second though. Onions unite the vegetarians and the non-vegetarians across the length and breadth of India, being the common ingredient in most of our dishes.

Bring your own onions: The fast food vendors, especially the chaat bhandar types, can insist on the customers to bring their own onions to avoid any compromises on taste and confrontations on price. However weird and debatable this may sound.

Reserve and preserve:  True, this indispensable vegetable is unique and doesn’t lend itself to many forms of preservation other than paste and powder. And sadly for Indian cuisine we mostly depend on fresh onions by chopping, cutting, slicing, sautéing and so on…So, we need some innovative ways of processing this kitchen staple.

Go Satvik for a while: Whether you believe in Ayurveda or not, there’s no harm in trying Satvik way to food. This no onion-no garlic diet may introduce us to new ways of appreciating vegetarian way of life before getting back to the Tamasic diet.

Grow your own onions: Since onions grow very well in pots, how about some planned cultivation in your backyard or balcony? Imagine how de-stressing gardening can be, and the bonus of harvesting some organic onions and spring onions too!

Onion insurance for farmers and traders: What better way than insuring against natural calamities, crop failure, and burglary of onions like it recently happened in Nashik, when 2000 kilograms of onions were stolen from a storage facility.

Importing onions, keeping a tab on the produce, rationing, controlling price etc are all the typical ways to resolve seasonal crisis and defusing panic. The tips mentioned above will definitely restore the smile on the face of the cook, the chef and the connoisseur who have always taken onions for granted.

Thanks Sujay Midde for the crowned onions pic :)

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