It was at least a few years ago when I first made onion rings - and this was only my second attempt since then because the first try had been so dismal. Because it has been so long I cannot actually remember what recipe I used, but I do remember the barely battered somewhat soggy and doughy covered onions that resulted. So when I suggested making onion rings to go with our burgers, my partner was - well, less than excited by the idea.
Due to the last attempt my expectations were low. I am not a proficient deep fryer, and to be honest, the thought of a pan full of scalding hot oil on the stove scares me. Even when taking the fried onion rings out of the oil I was less than convinced that they worked, quite a few of them weren't actually 'rings' - more like half moons. However, once we'd tasted them we knew they were a success. The batter was light and very crispy with sweet onion inside and just a hint of spice. Had I been more patient and delicate when frying them up (as my falafel burger was cooling), I probably could have gotten more perfect 'rings' and a more even batter coating - but I don't think this would have made much difference to the flavor.
Beer battered onion rings
serves 2 as a side dish
2 medium onions - cut into 1/2 inch rings
milk - as much as it takes to cover onion rings (at least a couple cups)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne (or chilli powder)
1/2 tsp cumin
about 1 1/2 bottles beer (lager style)
Cover onion slices with milk in a bowl and leave to soak for about 30 minutes. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan (ie: cast iron) in a 200 C/ 400 F oven. Sift together dry ingredients then add beer in until you get a (American) pancake like consistency*. Transfer pan to the stove and put on high heat. In batches, coat about six to eight onion rings in the batter and fry in a single layer in the oil, turning over once when browned on the bottom side - then remove and put on paper towel to drain.
*You may need to add more flour or beer depending on the consistency of the batter - it shouldn't be too thick.