Onion Rings with Chaat Masala

Indian street food goes gourmet.

Several fast food places in India serve these light, crispy rings on a large metal rod (like a kitchen paper towel holder). They are easy to make, fun to eat and wonderful when it is raining outside. I like to use all-purpose flour, but you can also use the traditional chickpea flour. This recipe is from Modern Spice by Monica Bhide (Simon & Schuster April 2009).

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 cup all-purpose flour
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 cup club soda
1/2 teaspoon carom seeds*
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves*
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (for frying)
Store-bought Indian chaat masala*

Method

Separate the sliced onion into rings, discarding the very small rings and hard center part (save these for another purpose).

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, red chili powder, carom seeds, fenugreek and the 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Add the club soda, a little at a time, and mix well to ensure that there are no lumps. The batter should be thicker than a pancake batter. If the batter becomes too thin, add an additional tablespoon of flour.

Add the onions to the batter and make sure they are well-coated.

Heat the oil in a deep pan to 350 degrees. Add a few onion rings at a time to the hot oil and fry, turning them in the oil until they are golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rings from the oil and place on a double layer of paper towels to drain.

Continue until all the rings are done. The temperature of the oil may fall between batches, so allow time for the oil to reheat. Serve dusted with Chaat Masala.

*Carom seeds, fenugreek and Chaat Masala all are available online or at an Indian grocery.
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