As you probably know, I am a fan of all sorts of ethnic cuisines, probably more so than the standard American foods (granted my last meal will be fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sweet corn), and that is saying a lot as I do love great American food. I could, and probably get away with it, eat some different ethnic food on a daily basis whether that be Greek, Italian, Mexican, Thai, or Filipino. You name it, I’m in. Lately, however, I am really craving Indian food. Maybe it is that simple, yet complex, notion of lentils cooked down in a curry gravy only to be swiped through with delicious warm naan bread, or maybe it is something like chicken tikka masala served alongside some rice, and well these Indian style red onions. It’s the simple things that get me.
It was years ago when I fell in love with Indian food, or Pakistani food for that matter. These platters would arrive and there would always, or most likely, be a small mound of simple red onions on the platter and I often scooted those to the side. That is until recently. I dabbled in them and low and behold those onions were definitely not there for garnish, they were there to boost the dish and cut through some of the richness of the dish. Not only that but they exploded in flavor, and that really intrigued me. Intrigued me so much I think about serving them along side most meals.
After dissecting the ingredients, I thought I would offer them up to my family during a recent hummus, grilled chicken, and pita party at the dinner table. I think they liked them. I know my wife did, all of the kids tried them, and I was eating them like chips alongside the rest of the meal.
These Indian style red onions are much like those trendy pickled red onions you are starting to see on like every burger nowadays (something I made back in 2009), but a bit more simple to make (believe it or not) and to me, loaded with more flavor. Addicting if you will.
Let’s get started.
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp chaat masala (find at your local Indian store)
- generous pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
That’s it. Your only challenge, and a minor one at that is to get the chaat masala. You can Google it and make your own, but it is a lot easier to buy the store bought. Chaat masala is essentially a blend of Indian spices including cumin, coriander, ginger, dried mango powder, hing, and some chili powder, among other spices. The flavor profile is incredible to say the least.
Soak the onions in cold water for about 20 minutes, then strain the water.
Add the onions, lemon juice, salt, chaat masala, and cayenne pepper to a bowl. Stir well. Cover and let them marinade for about 1 hour until you are ready to serve.
Soaking the onions takes that ‘bite’ out of the onions which is great in my opinion and you are not walking around after eating them with onion breath. Serve the onions alongside your meal and dabble in there, grabbing a few and include them after some bites. Talk about snap, crackle, and pop! These Indian style onions are sure to please and go really, really well alongside grilled meats, or heck even a bowl of great hummus, pita, and olives. Feel free to cover and refrigerate any leftovers for about a week. Hope you enjoy!