I was expecting some company last weekend and I wanted to make something fun to pass around and dip while we were talking. These onion rings were some of the best I’ve ever had. I love the flavor and love how the beer creates such an airy light batter. They were very quick to cook. I used peanut oil because it has a high smoke point meaning it will cooperate well when heated to a high temperature. Also, peanut oil doesn’t give a strong flavor the way some oils do. I have not tested this with a gluten free flour but I bet brown rice flour would be a great choice.
I started by soaking the onions in buttermilk. It takes out some of the bitterness and pungent bite. The result is sweeter and crispier onions. Then I went to work preparing the rest of the beer batter. When making this recipe, work the steps just as they come because unlike some dry batters that you can wait to fry, this beer batter needs to go right into the fryer after the vegetables or fish are dipped into it. The batter would melt right off the food if it was not cooked immediately after dipping.
The steps are not complicated. After soaking the onions, I placed them into plain flour and then added them into the wet beer batter. I think the little bit of extra plain flour gives a bit of crispiness and helps dry out some of the buttermilk. The batter is really good. Very light and takes almost no time to puff up and become crunchy. I really like this more than the corn meal or panko texture. The batter is less flaky. For onions or fish, it is exactly the correct texture. I really love the bubbles in this batter from the beer. I used a light domestic lager. This carbonation gives the batter its light fluffy texture that is still crispy. Dark beer will give the batter a stronger bitter flavor so I suggest something blonde in color without any added fruit flavor.
You can see how it looks like a light almost off white or light pink color. That is from the hot sauce. It did not have that sort of color after it was cooked. Also, the few dashes of hot sauce did not give the batter any sort of spiciness, just extra flavor and acidity. A small amount really adds to the background of the batter. Hot sauce is an optional ingredient but as the motto says with the hot sauce I use: “I put that on everything!”
When you are frying, use a sturdy stainless steel or cast iron pot. You want to keep an eye on the oil and use a candy or fry thermometer at 350 degrees. If you don’t have that, test small chunks to see how fast the oil bubbles up and how fast the piece cooks.
I like to add half of the oil to start with and then add more oil halfway through. This way you wont waste any of the oil. I try not to reuse oil too much. Especially if I am cooking seafood. I don’t want the flavor of the seafood to flavor my vegetables the next day. If you are going to cook seafood and vegetables, cook the vegetables first and the seafood second so that the flavor of the cod or shrimp does not flavor your onion rings. This is a really great batter for cod and shrimp.
If you don’t have a candy thermometer or an electric one, you can test the oil by putting small pieces on vegetables into the oil to see if the oil bubbles up. This is what you want to see indicating the oil is hot enough for frying. Never touch the oil or put your face close to it as there could be bubbles and splatter.
As the cooking goes on, you will need a slotted spoon to remove some of the batter that may not stick to the food. It sometimes happens if the batter is put on too thick. Use a tongs to dip the onions into the batter and let some of it roll back into the bowl. You really want just a light coating.
After a few batches, I needed to turn the heat down some. Halfway through, add more oil and let it heat up again and test the temperature. When I am cooking in small batches too, this is a good technique so you use just the amount of oil you need. The vegetables or food do not need to be fully submerged in the oil but if that is the case, you will need to turn the item over half way through cooking. After you have cooked your food, lay it down on the wire rack to drain any excess batter or oil.
Enjoy this and let me know how you like it by tagging @EmeraldMenus on social media.
The Best Beer Batter For Everything
A light and flaky batter that is really good for vegetables, seafood and other proteins.
- 2 each eggs
- 12 oz light or medium-bodied lager, cold
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tsps paprika
- 4 dashes hot sauce optional
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3-5 lbs peanut oil
- 2-3 lbs fish or vegetables for battering
In a large bowl, add the buttermilk and add the vegetables or meat. Soak vegetables or meat in the buttermilk for 15-30 minutes
In a medium sized bowl, whisk eggs until smooth.
Then whisk in the beer into the eggs and add 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 Tablespoon of salt.
After half the flour is mixed into the eggs and salt, add the paprika, hot sauce and garlic powder into that mixture.
On a flat, separate plate, add the rest of the flour. One by one, take the vegetables out of the buttermilk and lightly dip into the plain coat the food lightly in the plain flour and set aside.
Next set up a plate with a wire rack so the excess oil can drip off after it is cooked. Heat up half of the oil in a dutch oven on the stove top or a deep fryer. You want the oil to be around 350 degrees.
After the oil is hot, dip the coated vegetables or meat into the beer batter and fry. For most vegetables like onions, its about 2 minutes on each side for a light golden color.
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