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Shallots originated in Syria. They are not baby onions but a separate member of the onion family.They have a delicate flavour, less intense than most onions and they also dissolve easily into liquids, which is why they are favoured for sauces. They are about 3–4cm in diameter and maybe yellow or red skinned.

Shallots are a good source of Vitamin C.

Nutritional Information

Nutrient   Raw
Energy kJ 86
  Kcal 20
Protein g 1.5
Carbohydrate g 3.3
Fat g 0.2


Preparing and Using


Shallots should be firm without any green shoots. They should be skinned the same way as an onion and should be sliced thinly. When cooking them whole, fry over a gentle heat without browning them too much. Their size makes them convenient for recipes where only a small amount of onion is needed or when only a fine onion flavour is required. Where recipes specify shallots they should be used where possible. However, they can be substituted into recipes that would use other types of onion. For example, coq au vin is traditionally made with walnut-sized white onions, but shallots can be used instead to give a different type of flavour.


Shallots can be roasted whole as well as fried or added to dishes. They can be caramelised to give added sweetness to a sauce. They can also be used in some classic French sauces such as Bercy or Béarnaise. They are so small that they can be used to garnish a dish or part of a dish and they are also good in warm salads. Glazed shallots are served as a vegetable side dish with roast meat or a baked vegetable dish.

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