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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Banana Shallots

    Hi, I am obsested with banana shallots what Nigella uses in Nigellisma. My question is can I use them in place of an onion in every dish as they are easier to chop, peel and to cook. Thanks.

    From the nigella team:

    The banana shallot, or echalion, is a cross between a regular shallot and an onion. It has inherited the best qualities from each side, the larger size of the onion (though it is elongated in shape - hence the name "banana shallot") and the mildness and sweetness of the shallot. They are easy to peel and do cook slightly more quickly than regular white or yellow onions. 

    There is no particular reason why you can't use the banana shallots instead of onions, though they are not a substitute for red onions. You may also find that you need 2 banana shallots instead of a regular onion due to the size difference and milder taste. However they are more expensive than onions and if a strong allium taste is required then you may prefer to use regular onions. You can also substitute banana shallots with regular shallots - just use 2 regular shallots for 1 banana shallot.

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