ONION RINGS IN BUTTERMILK BATTER with chilli & lime aioli
Double cooking makes the batter on these super- crunchy (and also means you can prepare ahead) but, if you are short on time, just cook the rings once until they are golden.
3 large onions, sliced into 1.5cm rings
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for serving
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups buttermilk
About 1 litre oil for frying
Chilli & Lime Aioli:
2 egg yolks
1 lime, finely grated zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ cup neutral oil
Carefully separate onion rings and place in ice- cold water to soak for an hour. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Place 11/ cups of the flour in a bowl with
2 half the baking powder, half the salt and all the paprika. Mix to combine.
Place buttermilk in a second bowl. Combine remaining flour, baking powder and salt and whisk into buttermilk to make a runny batter.
Heat oil in a deep saucepan, wok or deepfryer (if using a deep- fryer, you may need more oil, depending on its size).
Toss onion rings in flour mixture then dip into batter. Dredge once more in the flour mixture before placing carefully into the hot oil. Cook rings until just starting to colour. Remove from oil and drain.
Freeze for at least an hour before cooking again in hot oil until golden. Serve hot, with a sprinkle of salt and Chilli & Lime Aioli for dipping. Makes about 40 rings
Aioli: Place egg yolks, lime zest and juice, chilli and garlic in a food processor and mix until smooth. With motor running, gradually add oil until mixture thickens. Season to taste and add extra lime juice if you think it needs it. If aioli is too thick, stir in a little hot water.