Baked not fried, with a hint of Indian flavors and maximum crunch!
This recipe is a riff on a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe from his Flavor cookbook that features five delectable ingredients: onions, buttermilk, turmeric, nigella, and caraway. In his version, the onion rings are double coated in flour and then fried. Nothing not to love there, of course, but there is an easier, healtheir way to enjoy those flavors. Let the turmeric and some toasted panko—what I like to call "technique, not torture" magic—do all the work to get these rings golden without the hassle of being fried in fat. The flavors are subtly Indian and the texture is decidedly crispy. The dipping sauce is just buttermilk mixed with a store-bought tamarind chutney. Easy, healthy, and delicious! Serve these onion rings as an hors d’oeuvre or as a side with with steak.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; spoons; fork; (3) wide shallow bowls; large sauté pan; wooden spoon; rimmed sheet pans; parchment paper; tongs; small mixing bowl; whisk
Onion Ring Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose or gluten-free panko
1 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 tablespoon nigella (kalanji) 1 tablespoon caraway seed
2 tablespoons avocado or vegetable oil
1 large Vidalia onion
½ cup all-purpose or gluten-free flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric
Dipping Sauce Ingredients: ½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons tamarind chutney
"Dorot frozen crushed turmeric and Geeta's tamarind chutney are two fabulous products that make preparing this dish so easy!
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the onion crosswise in ½-inch thick slices and separate the rings. Set aside.
2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, toast the panko, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the turmeric powder, nigella, caraway, and vegetable oil. Mix well to combine and place in a wide, shallow bowl. Set aside.
ILOC tip: if you have trouble finding nigella, ask for kalanji or onion seed. It goes by all of these names, and might be easiest to order online.
3. Combine the flour with a generous pinch of kosher salt in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside. Then mix the buttermilk and fresh grated turmeric in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside. From left to right, line up the seasoned flour, buttermilk mixture, and panko crumb, respectively.
"This recipe is easily made gluten-free by swapping GF panko for traditional panko, and GF flour for the all-purpose flour."
4. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
5. Dredge one onion ring in the seasoned flour and shake off excess. Using a fork, dip the flour-coated onion ring into the buttermilk mixture, then directly into the panko crumb. With a dry hand, toss well to coat and set on the lined sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining onion rings.
6. Place the coated onion rings - in a single layer divided amongst two sheet pans - in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes.
"Since the panko has been coated with a bit of oil, all you need to do is place the onion rings on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes at 400°F. Talk about technique, not torture! No additional fat, no lengthy cooking times to facilitate browning because the panko is pre-toasted."
7. While the onion rings bake, prepare the dipping sauce. Combine the buttermilk and tamarind chutney and blend until smooth. Set the sauce aside.
8. Remove the onion rings from the oven and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
Makes 4-6 servings.