Banish (the onion) from the kitchen and the pleasure flies with it. Its presence lends color and enchantment to the most modest dish; its absence reduces the rarest delicacy to hopeless insipidity, and dinner to despair.
– Elizabeth Robbins Pennell
Onions are one of my favourite foods and, so, I completely agree with the above sentiment. It’s rare for me to make anything savoury without onions, and fried onions are a particular favourite. One of my favourite holiday dishes is Green Bean Casserole. I love the taste of the beans combined with the tang of the fried, salty, onions. I was only introduced to this dish when I moved to America in 2001. I couldn’t believe how good it was and when I would come home from college I would insist we make it. However, as mentioned previously, I have sisters who hate mushrooms which meant instead of using cream of mushroom soup, my mom made Cheesy Green Bean Casserole—which is even more tasty.
When I came to Korea, I wanted to make my mom’s recipe, as I much prefer it to the traditional one. However, I didn’t know where to find a jar of fried onions, so I set out to make my own. Luckily, I stumbled across this recipe, and the rest was history. I made this recipe two or three times before making some adjustments for my personal taste. These onions are fantastic, and you will have to prevent yourself from eating them all up. For the latest batch I made, I’m not quite sure if the amount I’ve said it produces is correct as I kept “taste-testing” even though I knew they were perfectly fine.
More than likely you will have all the ingredients to hand already and it is quite quick to cook up. Even if you don’t make them for Christmas 2014, there is always the Sunday dinner and next year’s festivities.
Nollaig shona daoibh go leir (A very Happy Christmas to you all).
(Adapted from Food.com)
Makes around 4 cups (I ate quite a bit though BEFORE I measured it so more like 4.5 cups!)
- oil for frying
- 5 medium onions, thinly sliced into rings
- 2 cups of milk in a bowl
- 2 cups of wheat flour
- up to 1 tbsp paprika spice*
- 1-2 tsp dried parsley
*Adjust as per your tastes; I prefer the whole tbsp.
- Over medium-high heat, heat a deep frying pan. Once hot, add enough oil to just cover the onions (around ¼ cup).
- Meanwhile, stir together the flour, paprika, parsley, some salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Put a handful of onion into the milk and soak for 5 minutes.
- Once soaked, run the onions through the flour mix and then transfer to the hot oil, cooking until browned. Turn the onions over occasionally to make sure they are browned all the way. I like mine fairly browned, but you don’t need to go that dark.
- Once browned, transfer to a plate* covered with a double layer of paper towel. Dry the onions in a single layer on the paper towel and sprinkle with some more salt.
- Repeat steps 3-5, adding oil as needed. When you add the oil give it about 30 seconds before you add the next batch of onions.
- Once the onions are cooled pack into an airtight container. They should last about a week.
*You may need more than one plate as you don’t want the onions to drain oil onto the ones below. If you use two plates, by the time your third batch is done, the first batch should have cooled enough for you to pack into a jar. However, put a fresh paper towel down before adding the new batch of onions.
For anyone who doesn’t have a Green Bean Casserole recipe, click here.
For Best Results: I prefer to add a little oil at a time as I found when I add too much oil the pan the coating falls off the onion. The coating is still good and you can munch on that instead of the onions.
Soggy Onions: For any onions that are a bit soggy, keep them, but stir them into your Green Bean Casserole and top the non-soggy ones on top for the last 5 or so minutes. If you aren’t using for Green Bean Casserole but still want to use the soggy onions, put on a baking sheet in the oven at around 175° and bake for 5 minutes to crisp up before using.
Leftovers: Add to your Christmas leftover sandwiches with turkey, ham and stuffing. It makes for quite a treat.
Other uses: Besides Green Bean Casserole, you can add to onions to burgers, as a topping for Koshary, or just eat them on their own.