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The Economic Times

Indians are irrevocably onionised now

Onions remain the favourite for masala bases, tempering and garnish for millions of our compatriots.
Onions remain the favourite for masala bases, tempering and garnish for millions of our compatriots.
We Indians love onions just as much as we love apostrophes. Given a chance we bung them into all kinds of food, whether needed or not. While finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s comment that her family does not use onions in cooking highlighted there are many Indians for whom alliums are not — and never have been — necessities, onions remain the favourite for masala bases, tempering and garnish for millions of our compatriots. We put them in and on our curries and sambhars, in dosas and omelettes, in kathi rolls and pakoras, biryanis, chholey, pav-bhaji and other eatables including sweet dishes. Even non-Indian cuisines that seek to woo the Indian palate add onion-appeal. As if that were not enough, we are given onions sliced or pickled in vinegar as free add-ons at dhabas and restaurants alike. Whichever way you slice it, we cannot do without onions.

So it is not surprising we ignore nutritionists’ warnings that onions and garlic contain fructan, a short-chain carbohydrate resistant to digestion that can trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gas. Maybe someday a conspiracy between onion supply cartels and antacid makers will be unearthed. Meanwhile, although onions do not emit greenhouse gases like livestock — a major argument to urge people give up eating meat — surely their role in human emissions ought to be considered?
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