Last night I made caramelised onions for the first time ever, prompted I guess by this article about how time-consuming it is (and how recipe writers lie about this fact) . I used it in a dhal, which I then used water for instead of (high-sodium) vegetable stock, and TBH… delicious. Amazing you can make something just as nice with less than a third of the sodium 😂 (I mean, I did add a teaspoon of actual salt, but that’s still much less sodium than in vegetable stock!)
Now, could I be bothered doing this every time I want to cook something with onions in it? No chance. Kind of like cast-iron cookware (which you need to preheat before use), I feel like it has taste advantages over “default cooking”, and the extra time required isn’t arduous, laborious time, but it’s just not practical to start cooking an hour before you would otherwise need to start cooking most days. (I allow 20 minutes to preheat cast-iron, which is more doable.) Cooking a big batch to use bit-by-bit might be a solution, but would also have the hefty disadvantage of needing to chop a ton of onions instead of just one 😂 Nonetheless, I do think caramelising onions is something I would like to do from now on when I do have the time. Have a little caramelised onions as a treat, you know?
PS: If you’d like a guide as to how to caramelise some onions yourself, this on The Spruce Eats is a reasonable one. It’s not hard at all, and once it’s on the stove all you need to do is stir once every few minutes, but it does take some time.