Vegan Crispy Fried Onions
I think most South African children grew up knowing the crispiness of Spur onion rings – if you were too young to have your own adult meal you’d stare longingly at one of your parents until they gave in and shared their onion rings with you. If I’m alone in this memory, then you all missed out on something great!
I’m continuously amazed at the simplicity of vegan cooking, once you shift your mindset just a little, the possibilities of what you can achieve are endless. For years I have tried to replicate and master those crispy Spur onion rings but to no avail, they’d go soggy minutes after taking them out of the oil. Then Give a Fork started, and I started exploring new ways of creating the perfect onion rings. These are not only crispy in the oil but stay crispy long after you take them out.
They can be made spicy, herby or even lemony if you so wish, pair them either a spicy tomato sauce or a tangy vegan mayo, either way, you serve it, you’ll definitely want to master this skill to impress all future dinner party guests!
1. Hone those Slicing Skills
It’s usually best to use a mandolin slicer, but if you have the patience and you’re confident enough in your knife skills then go for it. Thinly slice 1 large white onion, we halved the onion first to make slicing with a knife easier, but if you want perfect rings then that’s cool too. The rings need to be thin enough for you to see through them.
Pour 1 1/2 cups Almond Milk into a shallow dish that can accommodate all your sliced onions, add 1tbsp apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined. Add your sliced onions and let them soak in the mixture for 15min. Don’t worry about leaving them to soak for too long, the longer the better, just don’t let them start disintegrating while you catch up on an episode of your favourite TV show.
3. Flour Flavours
This step is as important as the rest, think about the flavours you’d like to incorporate into the batter -our advice, the simpler the better. We opted to add 1tsp smoked paprika, 1/2tsp garlic flakes, and 1/4tsp cayenne pepper to our 1 1/2 cups of Gluten Free flour. But the possibilities are endless, you could spice it up and increase the amount of cayenne pepper, and perhaps add some fresh chilli, or you could add all the herbs to the batter (chives would work well with some parsley).
4. Applying the Batter
Have a pair of tongs on hand, as well as a fork, depending what you’d prefer to be using. Heat a wide frying pan with 2-3 cups olive oil/cooking oil. While that heats up, using your tongs/fork take a handful of your onion rings from the liquid and add them your flour batter, move them around to evenly coat – this can be done in batches.
5. Out of the Batter and into the Frying Pan
Once your oil is hot enough – add one sliver of onion ring, if it floats to the top your oil is ready. Transfer the onions you’ve just coated in batter and submerge in hot oil, you can use your fork to separate them, but it’s best not to fiddle with them too much. After 2min in the pan, remove and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Repeat if you’ve chosen to do them in smaller batches.
6. Gobble up and Enjoy!
We chose to serve our onion rings with 2tbsp Vegan Mayo, 1tsp paprika, 1/4tsp chilli flakes, and some fresh lemon juice to brighten it all up. We found it difficult to not polish off the entire bowl without sharing, so don’t feel guilty if you find yourself picking at them before actually serving them.