Onion Rings

Apparently, people like to eat.

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The Utilitarian
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Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:55 pm UTC

So, I have to ask, am I one of the only persons on the planet horrified at the change of direction in the form of onion rings? To me, onion rings in their ideal forms are thin, slightly crispy, and battered. Lately though I have to go massively out of my way to get onion rings in this variety. It seems only a few places (Harvey's, DQ, random others) still serve these delicious golden rings that I could happily eat until my arteries clogged.

Lately it seems more and more places are switching to these terrible "gourmet" onion rings, which are much larger and thicker, and seem to be more breaded than battered.

Am I alone in my despair over this onion ring paradigm shift?
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:23 pm UTC

I've seen a general thickening in the ring, which I concur, is a disapointment. I prefer a closer proportion of fried:onion.

Big fan. Want more. I actually really like Chili's like Awesome Blossom. Your thoughts on it?
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:29 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I've seen a general thickening in the ring, which I concur, is a disapointment. I prefer a closer proportion of fried:onion.

Big fan. Want more. I actually really like Chili's like Awesome Blossom. Your thoughts on it?

Can't say. I'm not sure we have this establishment up here in Canada (I've seen the adverts on TV tho). If we do I've never seen one nor been to one. What's it like?
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:40 pm UTC

They take a whole onion, a big fat one, and cut a sort of grid down it, so that it resembles a sort of flower. They then deep fry it, and provide a creamy sauce that is 90% rendered fat. You sort of pluck the petals, and by petals I mean sections of deep fried onion. I dunno if that description really helps, so,
Spoiler:
Nomnomnom.jpg

I believe it and it's various incarnations have been cited as the most fattening single dish you can order of a certain weight class. It's something like 2500 calories per.

I think the fatter onion rings tend to slip out of the fried batter, disrupting the amount of fried:onion you get per nomnom. This is remedied with smaller onion rings.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:09 am UTC

Well that DOES certainly look like a delicious heart attack on a plate

And your point about the batter/onion ratio is spot on, not only is the ratio more towards onion in the larger versions, but yea, the batter just falls off, and as much as we like onion rings I certainly wouldn't want a big plate of non-battered onion o_O
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Axman » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:33 am UTC

When I was a kid, my dad owned a restaurant; next door, there was a diner, and our staff sorta each crossed the street at lunchtime.

Anyway, I remember getting onion rings, extracting the onion, filling the ring with ketchup, and leaving only a pile of soggy onion. I think my dad put 'em on his burgers.

They don't make 'em like they used to.

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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Decker » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:40 pm UTC

I've seen thin and breaded, and I've seen fat and batterd. I've never seen fat and breaded. Dosn't sound like it would be too good though.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:15 pm UTC

Decker wrote:I've seen thin and breaded, and I've seen fat and batterd. I've never seen fat and breaded. Dosn't sound like it would be too good though.

it's really not.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:39 pm UTC

I woefully cannot partake in onion rings anymore (because they contain wheat), but have recently discovered onion bhaji (which you can get at most Indian restaurants and are usually coated in chick pea flour). So good. :D
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:45 pm UTC

Does chick pea flour work as a good surrogate for breading?
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:47 pm UTC

It's a batter not a breading, and these things are delicious and have spices in them.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:50 pm UTC

I'd imagine some sort of pakora (onion bhaji being a southern type with only onions instead of other ingredients) would be served at any Indian restaurant worth its salt.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:51 pm UTC

I willlllll have to try that... I wonder if my grocer has it.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:52 pm UTC

In the UK you can get them fresh or chilled at any supermarket, dunno about where you are.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:00 pm UTC

Well yeah they have them at most places--but not all places are gluten free. They don't always have them at the fast food Indian places.

I just love em cuz I can eat them.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:42 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:I woefully cannot partake in onion rings anymore (because they contain wheat), but have recently discovered onion bhaji (which you can get at most Indian restaurants and are usually coated in chick pea flour). So good. :D

Sounds tasty, I DO love me some Pakora, tho I usually get chicken because I am carnivorous like that. Perhaps next time I go for Indian I shall have to investigate.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:15 pm UTC

You don't need a deep fryer to make pakora/bhaji at home, either. They fry quite nicely in a saucepan with a couple inches of vegetable oil. Chickpea flour you should be able to get at a lot of ethnic markets, definitely any Indian/Pakistani market, but you might have to look/ask for it under the name "besan".
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:They fry quite nicely in a saucepan with a couple inches of vegetable oil.

Worst advice ever. This conjured flashbacks of that time I wanted to see what would happen if you deep fried ice cubes and then what happened when I was convinced lancing grease burns was painless and THEN what would happen...
tl;dr? Don't trust Zach with hot oil and open containers.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:51 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Mr. Bakerstein wrote:They fry quite nicely in a saucepan with a couple inches of vegetable oil.

Worst advice ever. This conjured flashbacks of that time I wanted to see what would happen if you deep fried ice cubes and then what happened when I was convinced lancing grease burns was painless and THEN what would happen...
tl;dr? Don't trust Zach with hot oil and open containers.

Heh, I have a friend who's been telling me for ages just to make my own onion rings at home but I am CONVINCED that me and frying temperature oil is a recipe for disaster. Disaster in the form of horrible burn scars.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Axman » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:07 pm UTC

Fry temps for homemade stuff is usually between 300-350, and that doesn't really asplode unless you pour water (or ice) straight into it. Just don't do that, get a deep cast iron pan and an oil thermometer, and you can make pakora, doughnuts, onion rings, anything.

Even then, oil spatters from home-frying don't burn that bad...

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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:12 pm UTC

Yeah frying at home isn't that hard--you just have to be calm (ie. don't jerk the pot handle or a utensil you're using in/near the pot). Don't add water.

If you're able to handle that you could certainly do it at home. I've made battered onion rings at home before--very tasty.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:31 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:Yeah frying at home isn't that hard--you just have to be calm (ie. don't jerk the pot handle or a utensil you're using in/near the pot). Don't add water.

If you're able to handle that you could certainly do it at home. I've made battered onion rings at home before--very tasty.

Hmmm well I DO like onion rings and pakora a lot... being able to make them at home would be pretty cool. Does it have to be a cast-iron pan? Would it need to be seasoned? (the pan, I mean).
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

It isn't necessary that it's cast iron--it is necessary that the pot is sturdy. Cast iron fits that description. And as far as seasoning is concerned--that primarily means prevented from rusting (well also, a well seasoned pan is quite close to non-stick--but this is a non issue for onion ring making)...don't use a rusty cast iron pan.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:09 am UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:It isn't necessary that it's cast iron--it is necessary that the pot is sturdy. Cast iron fits that description. And as far as seasoning is concerned--that primarily means prevented from rusting (well also, a well seasoned pan is quite close to non-stick--but this is a non issue for onion ring making)...don't use a rusty cast iron pan.

Mmmm would stainless steel work? I only asked about the seasoning thing on account of remembering a former room-mate of mine going through great lengths to make sure his cast iron was properly seasoned.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Axman » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:33 am UTC

Oooh, look at this set...

It's easy to keep cast iron, I have five or six skillets of varied size and a dutch oven. After you cook something, you bring it back up to heat, put a little hot water in it, boil, and scrape. Rinse it out, dry it, then wipe it down with a paper towel and a little corn oil, put it back on the stove, and let it cool. Don't soak them in the sink, don't use soap, and when you think you need soap, wash with hot water, salt, and baking soda.

The only think I use Teflon for is eggs and crepes...

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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:42 pm UTC

The only thing I use Teflon for is plumbing and irrigation. But that's neither here nor there.

The main thing that causes hot fat to spatter all over is water. It has to do with the difference in boiling points. So you're taking a greater risk frying something frozen that has ice crystals on it than something you made up yourself. Pakora/bhaji batter is basically besan, spices, and water. But because it's mixed into a batter, you don't have to worry about the water causing spattering. They'll crackle and sizzle and there will be a little bubbling; you may get a couple flecks spat out onto your hand; it's only slightly more painful than getting zapped by static discharge. If whatever you're frying has those ice crystals on it and you get more spattering, you may get a drop of hot oil on you that leaves a mark. Just don't do that.

The main thing you want in your pan is a heavy bottom. The reasons for this are even heating, good retention of heat, and lower chance of fucking up your cookware. Thin, low-quality pans are not built for deep-frying and may warp over time. Not all stainless steel is equal, unfortunately. Don't use anything with a non-stick coating; it might be okay, but better safe than sorry, and coated pans more often than not are low-quality. Non-stick pans that have no coating are okay as long as they've got that heavy bottom.

Make sure you have something with which to fish out the fried things. They sell special utensils with, like, coils on them or something. I've used a metal slotted spoon, but if you drop it in, you're fucked, and the handle's not that long which means putting your hand closer to the hot oil. It should go without saying that you don't use any plastic utensil, and I wouldn't risk silicone even if it claims to be good up to 400-450... Don't use a wooden spoon... Don't use a pasta fork...
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:46 pm UTC

This thread is making me want to go pot and pan shopping...
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:47 pm UTC

Well I've already got one of those metal mesh utensils for fishing things out of liquid (I use it to fish onions out of the broth when I make french onion soup. yes, I'm weird). I'm torn about whether to trust my stainless steel pot. It's got a pretty thick bottom on it but I'm fairly certain it wasn't intended for this kind of work. Maybe I will have to pick up cast iron after all... once I have the spare cash floating around.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:45 pm UTC

If your pot has a heavy bottom it will do fine. And you can often find cast iron pots at thrift stores.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby sippawitz » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:01 am UTC

i'm guessing most of you guys are from north america, right?

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Re: Onion Rings

Postby The Utilitarian » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:32 am UTC

sippawitz wrote:i'm guessing most of you guys are from north america, right?

Well I can't speak for the rest of the thread, but I'm Canadian.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:01 am UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:I've already got one of those metal mesh utensils for fishing things out of liquid (I use it to fish onions out of the broth when I make french onion soup. yes, I'm weird).

As long as it's all-metal, no plastic or wooden parts, it's probably okay? I'm not really sure. They make so many kinds of strainer... I think I was thinking of the coils on a cocktail strainer before, which is definitely not a good utensil for this purpose. You could also probably use a pair of metal tongs, if you're frying larger items rather than a pileful of shoestring potatoes or whatnot.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Axman » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:41 am UTC

You know, I think there are types of woods that can withstand fryers; when I worked at Bakery No.2 the doughnut guys used dowels, and I have never seen anything other than wooden chopsticks used in Asian restaurants in their hot fat.

Just, like, don't leave it in the pot, I'm sure.

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Re: Onion Rings

Postby sippawitz » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:16 am UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:
sippawitz wrote:i'm guessing most of you guys are from north america, right?

Well I can't speak for the rest of the thread, but I'm Canadian.



hee hee you really do love deep fried stuff don't you?

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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:34 pm UTC

Is there a nation out there that doesn't love fat+starch+crunchy? I know I've found it in every country I've visited.

Tempura, pakora and bhaji as earlier mentioned, fish n chips, ....etc.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Decker » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

It's also one of the fastest commonly available methods of cooking.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:41 pm UTC

I'd imagine it's not present in the traditional cuisine of the Inuit.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:53 pm UTC

Yes, because they were eating the fat right at the source, lacking the starch with which to coat it.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:10 pm UTC

Although to be fair, I think they dry it out sometimes to make it crunchy.
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Re: Onion Rings

Postby Axman » Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

The Inuit are the only people who don't use mind-altering substances, either. If you don't count fasting and throat-singing.

You know what's awesome? Tempura cheesecake.


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