This is a recipe from 2017. My daughter, Alex, cooked the onion rings at a time when large sweet yellow onions were a-plenty. I wanted to take new photos with step-by-step illustrations but, alas, it doesn’t look like we’ll be cooking onion rings any time soon.
For reasons I still cannot comprehend, onions cost more than beef these days. And there are only red onions in the market. White onions had been in short supply for months. It’s been that way since… well, shortly after the newly-elected president took office.
As far back as August 2022, white onions had been unavailable. The government says its a shortage in supply. An incredible claim, really, because friends who live up north where onion has been a traditional agricultural product, say that supply is abundant and prices are normal — quite low, in fact, because there is no transportation cost to factor in.
As of December 29, 2002, a kilo of red onions cost PHP750 (that’s 13.454062 US Dollars per current exchange rates) and white onions are nowhere to be found. Since it’s a bad idea to use red onions to make fried onion rings, you can understand why I have to stick with the spicy onion rings photos from 2017.
But, anyway… if you don’t live in Metro Manila or the suburbs that surround it, you probably have access to good onions at the right price. All I can offer at this point are two tips to make sure that your spicy onion rings turn out delectable.
First is oil temperature. The ideal is 350F but if you don’t own a thermometer to measure the temperature, here’s a trick. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping in one onion ring. It should float and crackle, and bubbles should form around it. If the onion ring sinks and does not float within two seconds, the oil is not hot enough. If it browns within seconds, the oil is too hot. Make the necessary adjustments.
Second is cooking in batches. Cook only a few onion rings at a time. Overcrowding will make the temperature of the oil drop and that will result in soggy rather then crispy onion rings.
Spicy onion rings
- Start heating the cooking oil in a pan. Ideally, the depth of the oil should be at least three inches. The ideal frying temperature is 350F to 375F.
- Peel the onions. Cut into half-inch rounds. Separate into rings. Toss with half of the paprika and half of the cayenne.
- Make the batter. Whisk the remaining paprika and cayenne with the flour. Pour in the vodka. Slowly pour in the beer while whisking at the same time.
- Dump the onion rings into the batter. Mix thoroughly to coat each piece with batter.
- Drop the beer-battered onion rings in the hot oil one by one. Depending on the size of your pan, cook six to eight onions rings at a time. Fry for one to two minutes or just until browned and crisp.
- As each batch finishes cooking, scoop out and move to rack or a strainer. Proceed with the next batch, and so on.
- Sprinkle the spicy onion rings with salt and serve immediately with your preferred dipping sauce.