I’ve tried several methods of frying—beer batter, tempura, those pre-packaged fry mixes—but the best method I’ve found for doing this is making a slurry with Ener-G and water and coating the soon-to-be-fried item in cornstarch. It repels the oil perfectly and yields a crispness and golden color every time. I’ve added to the cornstarch mixture here some dried red chili flakes, cilantro and mint, with a dash of fresh cracked pepper. To balance out the richness of the onion rings, I made a simple sweet thai-inspired vinegar sauce.
for the dipping sauce:
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
5 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
red chili pepper flakes
for the onion-rings:
1 medium-sized onion
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G, whisked with 5 TB water
1 cup cornstarch
2 tsp dried cilantro
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
a few dashes of cracked black pepper
To make the dipping sauce, bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add in the sugar and stir constantly until dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar, salt and red chili pepper flakes. Set aside or chill in the refrigerator.
Combine the cornstarch, cilantro, mint and chili flakes and pepper in a wide and shallow bowl. Set aside.
Slice the onion into 1-inch thick rings and separate. Set aside.
In a wide shallow saucepan, heat plenty of oil over medium-high heat. You can tell when the oil is ready by inserting a wooden spoon into the oil. Once it bubbles up around the spoon, its ready.
Working in batches of about 5 rings, dunk them in the Ener-G slurry, and then coat them in the cornstarch mixture. Slide them slowly into the oil and fry for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain.
Serve immediately with cilantro sprigs and the dipping sauce.
A note about reusing oil: Don’t throw out the unused cooking oil. It can be reused and makes fried food taste better. To store the leftover oil, let it cool completely in the saucepan. Then, using a strainer, pour into a reusable container. Store the oil in the refrigerator until your ready to use it again.