Allium ascalonicum (*)
Allium ascalonicum L.
* USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database, 6 March 2006 (http://plants.usda.gov).
The shallot, also called "multiplier onion", is a variety of the onion, Allium cepa L. var. aggregatum. Formerly classified as the species A. ascalonicum, a name now considered a synonym of the correct name. In Australia, the term "shallot" can also refer to scallions, while the term eschalot is used to refer to the shallot described in this article. The term "shallot" is further used for the French gray challot or griselle, Allium oschaninii, which has been considered to be the "true shallot" by many. It is a species that grows wild from Central to Southwest Asia.
Shallots probably originated in Central or South-East Asia, traveling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean. The name shallot comes from Ashkelon, an ancient Philistine city in Israel, where people in classical Greek times believed shallots originated.
Like garlic, shallots are formed in clusters of offsets with a head composed of multiple cloves. Their skin color can vary from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Shallots are much favored by chefs because of their firm texture and sweet, aromatic, yet pungent, flavor.
The shallot is a relative of the onion, and tastes a bit like an onion, but has a sweeter, milder, yet richer and more complex flavour. Shallots tend to be more expensive than onions. They can be stored for at least 6 months.
Shallots are extensively cultivated for use in fresh cooking, in addition to being pickled. Finely sliced deep-fried shallots are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine. (Often eaten alongside with porridge)
Shallots are propagated by offsets, which, in the Northern Hemisphere, are often planted in September or October, but the principal crop should not be planted earlier than February or the beginning of March. In planting, the tops of the bulbs should be kept a little above ground, and it is a commendable plan to draw away the soil surrounding the bulbs when their roots have taken hold. They should not be planted on ground recently manured. They come to maturity about July or August, although they can now be found year-round in supermarkets.
Similar to onions, raw shallots release chemicals that irritate the eye when sliced, resulting in tears. See onion for a discussion of this phenomenon.
Shallots appear to contain more flavonoids and phenols than other members of the onion family.
The term French shallot has also been used for Allium oschaninii.
There is a very specific region of shallot gardening in south eastern Ghana.
Shallots in Persian cooking
The shallot is called موسیر (Pronunces /Mou seer/) in Iran, and is often crushed and mixed with yogurt. Iranians enjoy yogurt in this way, especially in restaurants and Kebab-Saras where just kebabs are served. Most shallots are grown wild, harvested, sliced, dried, and sold at markets. Buyers will often soak the shallots for a number of days then boil them to get a milder flavour.
The Persian shallot is Allium hirtifolium Boiss., and differs from the common shallot. It is white-skinned and each plant has one or rarely two bulbs, while the common shallot is reddish-brown skinned and each plant can contain as many as 15 bulbs. It grows wild across the Zagros Mountains in different provinces of Iran.
Shallots in Indian and South East Asian cooking
Indian names are kanda or gandana (Hindi, Marwari and Punjabi), gundhun (Bengali), Pallari vengayam (Tamil) and cheriya ulli or chuvanna ulli (Malayalam)..
Shallots are called 'bawang merah kecil' (small red onions) in Malay, an official language of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore, also called Brambang in Java, and "hom" (หอม - literally "fragrant") in Thai. In Cambodian (Khmer) literally called it "Katem Kror Hom" where "Katem or Ktem" is a species of Onion and "Kror Hom" or "Hom" is meant RED describing the colour of the onion, which roughly translate as "Red Onion". In South East Asian cuisines, such as Thai, Cambodian, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines, both shallots and garlic ('bawang putih', white onions) are very often used as elementary spices. Raw shallot can also accompany cucumbers when pickled in mild vinegar solution. It is also often chopped finely, then fried until golden brown, resulting in tiny crispy shallot chips called 'bawang goreng' (fried onions) in Indonesian language, which can be bought ready-made from groceries and supermarkets. It enhances the flavor of many South East Asian dishes, such as fried rice variants. Crispy shallot chips are also used in Southern Chinese cuisine. In Indonesia, sometimes it is made into pickle which is usually added in variable kinds of traditional food. Its sourness increases one's appetite.
The shallot is widely used in the southern part of India. In the Kannada language it is known as 'Chikk-Eerulli' and used extensively in snacks, salads, curries and rice varieties. It is called 'Chuvannulli' in Malayalam and is used in Sambar (a tamarind-flavoured lentil soup) and different types of kuzhambu (curry).
It is used with sugar cubes as a home remedy for sore throat.
1. ^ "Allium ascalonicum information". Germplasm Resources Information Network. USDA. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?404738. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License