Fried Onions or Birista are thin onion slices deep-fried in oil till golden brown and crisp. Use these golden fried onions for making biryani, soups, dals, sandwiches, or sprinkle them over Khichdi or Matar Pulao for delicious flavor enhancement.
Birista is nothing but thinly sliced onions that are fried till they turn crispy and golden brown in color. They are often used to garnish dishes such as Biryani, Pulav, Dal, Soups, Curries, etc.
I sometimes even add them in my Sandwiches, Burgers, Rolls, and Wraps, actually, it goes with almost everything.
To make these crispy fried onions, you will need just 2 ingredients – Onion and Oil.
Onion – Use red onion to make birista as they have a nice pungent flavor and they hold up well after the heavy-duty frying. If making a French-style recipe, you can use white onion as well.
Oil – Use any neutral flavored oil to fry the onion. I used sunflower oil to fry mine.
Step by Step Recipe
Peel the onions and wash them. Cut the onions into thin slices. Make sure the slices are almost equal in size to ensure even browning.
Take a large kitchen towel and spread the onion slices over it. Leave aside for a few hours to get rid of the excess moisture.
Heat oil in a pan. The oil should be enough to cover the onion slices. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Never add the onion in less hot oil. They will not become crispy afterwards.
Fry on high heat for 8-10 minutes. Now simmer the heat and fry till onions are golden brown. Keep stirring the onions.
Remove the onions on a plate lined with kitchen tissue. Keep in mind that onions will brown slightly more even after taking out from the oil.
Spread the Birista over the plate lined with kitchen tissue. Leave the Birista on the plate for 4-5 minutes. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a month.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you add thinly sliced onions in medium hot oil, it will not become crispy and might turn out soggy too. Make sure your oil is hot once you add the onions.
Also, keep an eye and keep mixing them with a spoon, as you don’t want them to get burned.
Keep them on a kitchen towel after frying for about half an hour, to soak up the excess oil.
Fried Onions are crispy when compared to caramelized onions. Also, caramelized onions are cooked on low heat until they turn brown and are soft in texture.
Caramelized Onions also uses sugar or brown sugar sometimes that helps in the browning of onions, but in fried onions, there are only two ingredients, onions, and oil.
You can make fried onion in an air fryer as well. Preheat the air fryer at 120 degrees C.
Transfer the sliced onions in the basket of the air fryer and spray with oil. Air fry for 5 minutes.
Mix the onions once and keep air frying for 5 minutes and mixing them until they turn nicely browned.
Fried Onions are very popular in French cuisine as well and they are used to top salads, casseroles, and other sides. But they are made in a slightly different way.
Cut the onions into rings. Dip them in egg and then coat with flour panko mix
Now deep fry the onions until they are crispy and browned.
I am such a big fan of Birista, that I always have a big jar full of these golden brown and deep-fried onions in my fridge.
To store them, just add them in a clean airtight container and freeze them for about 6 months.
Make sure you don’t keep them at room temperature or refrigerate them, only freeze them. Storing them in the refrigerator makes the fried onions go rancid within 4-5 days reducing the shelf life and taste of it
So I would recommend you to make a big batch of Birista, and then use it throughout the month to add a twist in your basic recipes.
Popularly, Birista or Beresta tastes the best in Biryanis. Just add some in the layers and sprinkle some on the top of the Biryani, yum!
Add them in your Kebabs, it lends a fantastic flavor to them.
They also come in handy to make quick Korma and other rich creamy curries.
I also like to sprinkle these crispy onions in my regular Rice, Khichdi, and Dal recipes or use them inside your Sandwiches, Burgers, Wraps, Rolls, or even on Pizzas.
It is also popularly used in an Asian recipe, Khowsuey, which is a soup made with coconut milk, noodles, and lots of vegetables.
You can even sprinkle some on your open toast or bruschetta or salads. Even add in your casserole recipes!
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Fried Onions Recipe
- 1 kg Onions
- Oil for frying
- Peel the onions and wash them well.
- Wipe them using a kitchen towel.
- Cut the onions into even thin slices.
- Make sure the slices are almost equal in size to ensure even browning.
- Take a large kitchen towel and spread the onion slices over it.
- Leave aside for a few hours to get rid of the excess moisture.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- The oil should be enough to cover the onion slices.
- When the oil is hot, add the onion.
- Fry on high heat for 8-10 minutes.
- Now simmer the heat and fry till onions are golden brown.
- Keep stirring the onions while frying.
- Remove the onions on a plate lined with kitchen tissue.
- Keep in mind that onions will brown slightly more even after taking out from the oil.
- Spread the Birista over the plate lined with kitchen tissue.
- Leave the Birista on the plate for 4-5 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a month.