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Friday, 21 January 2011

Classic Onion Rings & a recreation of Chilli's Awesome Blossom

Easy  |  Serves 6 appetiser portions

Classic Onion Rings

Who doesn't like onion rings?!  I know I like them!

Growing up, there was a time when onion rings were hugely fashionable! You found them at every fast food restaurant’s menu. I don’t know why but this cloudy weather today reminded me of this yummy snack. I guess because most of my early memories are of growing up in the harsh winters of Amman. So when it gets cloudy early memories come up and food is a big part of those memories!
I remember my mum making these alongside home-made chicken burgers, when we used to get snowed in for a couple of days. When snowed in - in Amman, or at least back then -  there is absolutely nothing to do! You are just simply stuck at home! Added to that, mum had to manage us all with loads of energy and no outlet. After playing with the snow and complaining that we are bored, she used to prepare this meal for us, and have us help her in the kitchen. I always loved adding onion rings on top of my chicken burger drizzling the whole thing with her delicious home-prepared mustard sauce on top!!! Mmmmm- heaven!

With that said, we usually ate healthy food at home. These used to come merely as occasional treats! This made these crunchy onion rings feel even more like a treat!… so in today's post, I want to treat you to the best onion rings recipes “The Classic Rings” & "Chilli’s Awesome Blossom"! Yes, you remember that? The Ossom Blossom that used to live in Chillies! I always loved that irresistible Awesome Blossom, and have no idea why they stopped making them! Not to bother, here is how you can make it at home :)
You will definitely want to add these recipes to your reservoir of regularly used recipes, because everyone will love you for making them :))

A Quick Note on Serving & Presentation

Onion rings are a very good appetiser to start your meal. But they can also be used as part of sandwiches especially burgers. You can present them diner style – in a basket lined with wrapping paper, or in paper cones for a city vendor feel! For cocktail parties, I like to make super small paper cones, fill them with 2 or 3 rings lightly drizzled with dip, which guests can pick with sandwich skewers or mini cheese forks. Tie the whole thing with a ribbon, or tie the ribbon on the sides as a handle! A very cute way to serve these in a Cocktail Party.

For the Classic Onion Rings
You Need

4 medium sized yellow or brown onions, cut into slightly thick slices and separated into rings
Vegetable oil or shortening*
¾ cup flour
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
A pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder

*TIP Most diners and restaurants would fry foods in either shortening or goose fat. Oil is much lighter, but will not have the same deep fatty flavor as frying in those fats. Oil is, however, relatively healthier. The choice is yours :)

Prepare your batter in a large bowl; 
Combine flour, milk, egg, oil and seasoning and beat with a rotary beater till smooth (you can do this process in a blender as well).

 Heat oil or shortening in a large skillet for deep frying the rings. (if you have a heatproof thermometer you need the fat to reach 365°F for best results, if not make sure the oil is hot before adding the rings). Frying in oil that is not properly hot results in foods soaking up the oil and turning out greasy and without a crunch.

Meanwhile, using a fork, dip the separated rings into the batter. Lift up and drain off excess batter. Fry the rings in a single layer (a few at a time) in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Separate the onions if they stick together while frying.

Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels, then transfer to serving plate, or cones. Serve with your preferred dip, ketchup or the Awesome Blossom Dip below.

Chillie's Awesome Blossom

For recreating Chilli’s Awesome Blossom
You Need
1 Large onion sliced like a blossom (as described below)
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp salt
Freshly Ground Black pepper to taste
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

For Awesome Blossom Dip 
You Need
½ cup sour cream
2 tbsp ketchup
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper powder
1 ½ tsp fresh horseradish or ½ tspprepared horseradish
¼ tsp paprika

In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.

To create the blossom shape slice off the top ¼ inch of the large onion (the stem side). Cut through the top towards the bottom of the onion like you would if slicing a pie or a pizza, only stop about ½ inch from the bottom so the onion remains in one piece and does not fall apart. 

Soak the cut onion in ice water for about 30 minutes. This will make the onion open up and “blossom.” 
Drain the onion, dip it in the flour mixture, then dip it into the buttermilk and then back into the flour. Deep fry the onion in hot oil until it becomes golden brown. The onion must be totally submerged in the oil. Remove from oil, cut out the center and serve with dipping sauce.

To make Awesome Blossom DipIn bowl, mix all the dipping sauce ingredients together until well combined. Transfer to serving dip bowl and serve. Chili’s serves the dipping sauce in the center of the Onion Blossom. If you want to stay true to that, then place the dipping sauce in the centre which you cut out earlier. Otherwise just simply dive in!

Super cool food from super cool days ;)
Have you tried this recipe before? How did it turn out? 
Let me know what you think of this recipe and weather you too loved Chillie's Awesome Blossom. Also do share with me what is your favourite sandwich with onion ring? I do love to hear from you so leave me a comment before you go.