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~ Making Indian Birista (Crispy Deep-Fried Onions) ~

IMG_0819If you are familiar with Indian food, you have eaten their birista (bah-REES-tah):  thinly-sliced crispy, golden, deep-fried onions.  They are as common to an Indian kitchen as steamed basmati rice and roti (an unleavened, griddle-cooked flatbread).  They are eaten as a snack and used as an additive to, or a topper for, delectable dishes like biryani, curries, steamed rice, mashed potato filling, soups, salads, sandwiches, grilled meats, meat patties and savory breads. If you are not familiar with Indian food, but are a lover of onions, because barista are generic (they contain no Indian spices), you can and will find yourself using them in the exact same way!

IMG_0845This short onion-loving post just might change your life!

IMG_07213  medium-sized yellow or sweet onions, about 9- 10-ounces each, pole ends sliced off, peeled, cut in half and thinly-sliced into half-moon shapes, 1/8" or less thick,

peanut oil placed in a deep fryer and preheated to 350 degrees, according to manufacturer's specifications (Note:  the oil should not be overly hot.  When you drop a few onions in to test the heat, the oil should give a friendly sizzle.)

IMG_0716~ Step 1.  Peel and slice the onions as directed.  Do your best to slice them as thinly as possible. Preheat deep-fryer to 350 degrees (in India they use a wok/kadai). Line a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan with several layers of paper towels.

Note:  I slice and fry one-half an onion at a time (an amount that fits nicely without crowding my fryer basket).  While one batch is frying, I slice another half an onion.

IMG_0779~ Step 2.  Using your fingertips, sprinkle, don't dump all at once, the sliced onions into the hot oil.  

IMG_0724Initially, they will sink down under the oil, and shortly afterward they will start to rise to the top with a happy sizzle.

Note:  Do not close deep-fryer lid.

IMG_0759 IMG_0751                                      ~ Step 3. Using a long-handled fork (I use a three-prong bacon fork) give the onions a quick stir to make sure they are separated.

After three minutes, with the lid open on the deep-fryer during the cooking process, they will look like this this photo:  just beginning to show signs of browning.

IMG_0763 IMG_0789~ Step 4. Give the onions another quick stir with the fork to, once again, make sure they are staying separated.

Continue to fry, another 3 minutes, with the lid open on the deep-fryer during the cooking process.  They will look like this photo: golden brown with white centers.

IMG_0739 IMG_0792                                              ~ Step 5. Stir onions one last time and fry, with lid open. 1 1/2-2 more minutes, watching carefully.  Transfer to prepared baking pan and repeat the process until all onions are deep-fried.  Cool at least 1 hour before serving.

This is the result of three deep-fried onions:

IMG_0810Use birista to give your favorite dishes a "wow" factor:

IMG_0832Making Indian Birista (Crisp Deep-Fried Onions):  Recipe yields instructions to slice and deep-fry as many onions as you want to.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; deep-fryer; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; paper towels; long-handled fork; 3-minute timer 

IMG_0903Cook's Note:  For another one of my favorite ways to incorporate onions into my onion-loving weekday diet, click into Categories 4, 8, 15 or 20 ~ To Sweeten Your Life:  Caramelize Some Onions ~.  Next to birista, caramelized onions are one of my favorite sandwich toppers! 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)


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