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What is the healthiest method for making onion rings ?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hello All;
I have a question for all of you health enthusiasts out there :-)

I picked up the book "Livin Low Carb" by George Stella, one of the chef's on the Food Network. In his book, he has a recipe for Low Carb Deep Fried Onion Rings. Onion Rings have always been my favorite but off limits since I started eating healthy ... up until now, that is. In this recipe, George uses Soy Flour instead of white flour and if you read the reviews, there isn't a single bad review and everyone says these onion rings taste just like the ones using white flour for the bredding.

While I have the book, this recipe is also on-line here ...
Recipes : Low Carb Deep-fried Onion Rings : Food Network

There is only one problem I have with this recipe - The rings are still deep fried which is a unhealthy food preparation method.

My question to all of you is ... after looking at this recipe does anyone have any suggestions for how this recipe can be made more healthy either by using a healthier cooking method (other than deep frying), or by deep-frying in the healthiest (?) oil ? Has anyone tried baking onion rings rather than deep-frying with good results?

Thanks for your advice and suggestions.

Tim
post #2 of 29
you can use corn meal,rice flour etc. etc. and fry it in olive oil and if you keep the oil at 350 the olive oil will NOT burn
post #3 of 29
Hi wtdedula,
This is not directed to you, but to the food fad promoters who promote unhealthy food in the name of health and who produces recipes like flourless onion rings, saying they're "more healthy."

I find the idea of "healthy onion rings" really strange in the first place, and then the idea that carbohydrate-free fried onion rings are healthy even more strange. Why are carbohydrates "unhealthy" while deep fat can be considered "healthy"??? Isn't that kind of upside down? Since when are carbohydrates unhealthy? I realize you can lose weight if you eat no carbohydrates and only fats and meats and stuff, but the fact is you lose weight because your body produces ketones which are toxins, that, yes, make you lose weight, but you lose weight because you are sick. I could probably induce dysentery too, and lose weight, or any number of diseases. But please, don;t call it healthy.

The mediterranean diet, where most of the protein is acquired through grains combined with legumes, with a little cheese, or with certain vegetables, where tons of greens are eaten (very tastily, too, i will add) with bread, always bread, on the table, and with little meat, and where good olive oil is the main source of fat, is healthy, and in fact, you actually don;t see many overweight people over here. And Italians are among the longest-living people in the world. (Italian women are the longest!)

My feeling is, if you want onion rings, eat real, well-made onion rings, but just don;t make them your mainstay. Eat them once in a while as a treat, and eat the tastiest ones you can make. When you eat something that might be unhealthy, eat it well, enjoy it fully, don;t crap it up with fake stuff, just make it tasty and then you won;t keep craving it! If you make it with soy beans or something, it's not onion rings, and you'll be left with the desire for real onion rings anyway. There are plenty of healthy foods that don;t taste like onion rings, and so if you're going to make onion rings that don;t taste of onion rings, you might as well make something else that is good, and doesn;t taste of onion rings!

Also, have you ever counted the calories in flour and in oil??? take a look.
It's the oil that will make you gain the weight, and also the oils, especially fried oils, not the flour, that make onion rings unhealthy. (Frying oils that are not cold pressed releases toxic substances when heated to frying temperatures that screw with your body).
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 29
The key to a healthy onion ring (or any fried food, but applies more to battered and or breaded food) is to fry it with good technique, which means fry it in oil that is hot enough so that steam is ejected by the food during the frying process (which prevents oil from being soaked) while not frying it so much that the outside gets burned while the inside is still raw. Good temperatures range between 325-375 F, depending on your application (350-375 should be fine for onion rings). After that, if you quickly blot it with paper towl (do not let it sit on greasy paper) and/or allow it to drain on a rack, you will end up with ungreasy onion rings that are both delicious and absorb only minute amounts of oil.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #5 of 29
I don't think Blueicus' point can be stressed enough.

When properly done there is nothing unhealthy about deep fried foods. The food, itself, does not absorb any of the oil, and the little on the outside is quickly blotted or drained away.

The most important tool for deep frying isn't a fryer. It's a thermometer. Keep the oil in that 350-375 range, don't overload it, and drain as soon as the food comes out of the fryer.

Where many people blow it is with the second batch. They drain the first one, then add more stuff to the oil before it comes back up to temperature. And that puts you back at square one.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 29
I agree with you both to an extent, what i was mainly getting all heated up about was the idea that it's the flour that makes it unhealthy.
Still, one problem i have with frying, no matter how much care i take, is that the fat decreases in the frying pan, even if i keep the temp right, and that means the fat is going into the food. I can;t believe that some of it doesn't get absorbed no matter how careful you are.
I never used a deep fat fryer, but i imagine the temptation is irresistable to reuse fat from one frying to another, when you have to use so much oil. and reused fat is definitely bad for you, no? But when does it become considered reused? The second batch? the third? the fourth? or only if you fry again the next day?
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hello;
Thanks for all of your helpful responses.

I like greenawalt87's suggestion the best with his recommendation to try frying in Olive Oil which according to almost all health professionals is the healthiest oil available. I was hesitant to try it since I thought it would alter the taste too much this is why I posted the original message to see if anyone had any experience using a healthier oil to deep-fry onion rings.

Regarding siduri's response, I agree it's OK to indulge in real onion rings only as a treat (My idea of a treat, btw is once or twice a year, btw since I don't eat fried foods).

Though I do not agree that using other (healthier) breadings other than refined white flour make them taste bad or undesirable.

Also to Blueicus, and KYHeirloomer, what you say about maintaining the oil the right temperature does make sense but are you sure that if done right, a lots of oil isn't absorbed into the bredding ? Do you have research or scientific studies to back this up or are you just eyeballing the rings after removing them and observing that they aren't wet/greasy ?

I am not after eliminating carbs from my diet as I know that would be dangerous but am looking at reducing carbs and also replacing unhealthier foods with healthier ones even if they may have the same number of carbs. This is my rationale for exploring other breaddings other than refined white flour (or anything made with white refined flour).

In addition to using Soy Flour for breading, I discovered that almond flour can be used too along with olive oil for frying. See SCD Recipe: Heidi's Onion Rings

Tim
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Siduri;
I don't want this to sound like a nutrition forum nor do I want to start a huge debate ...

So I'll just say that I am exploring healthier alternatives to breading with Refined, White Flour, and frying with high transfat/sat. fat oils without sacrificing good taste. And I was hoping to get some good suggestions here.

Tim
post #9 of 29
Somewhere, and quite recently, I saw a recipe/technique for making onion rings by coating then with something other than flour and then baking them. I didn't pay a lot of attention - maybe it was on Food Network program. You might want to do a search on FN for baked onion rings and see if anything turns up.

Shel
post #10 of 29
Depends on what you consider "not much oil", according to various sources (you can easily look some information up on a search engine), the amount of oil absorbed in food during the frying process is said to be between 7% and 30%. Now, this link 83E-31 Water loss and oil absorption during frying of potato chips indicates a correlation between higher temperature frying and lower oil absorption (for potato chips at least). If you can reduce absorption by a meagre 3% (assuming a percentage of the mass of object), that means per 200 gram serving of onion rings you're reducing the fat you're consuming by 6 grams, which is about 7-10 percent of your recommended daily fat intake, not too shabby.

Of course, in the end, the important thing to remember is that just because it's healthier doesn't mean you should gorge yourself on it... you eat 3500 calories without a single gram of fat in a day but if you're just spending all day sitting in front of a computer monitor you're going to gain weight.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #11 of 29
sure, i agree, and the trans fat stuff and all, i agree even more. I just thought you were talking about low carbohydrate onion rings, which i think is what you mentioned at the beginning.
I agree, whole grains are better, but when you talk onion rings, you're not really talking health food, but fun food.
But anyway, the white flour, if you buy it from a good source, is not going to have bad chemicals in it, (It simply will not give you the nutrients you would get from whole - and so what, since the flour in onion rings is not going to be your main source of carbohydrates in a day, they don;t contain all that much flour anyway, nor are you eating it to fulfill some nutritional need, but for the pure pleasure of the taste of it). But the trans fats and all that are going to have the bad chemicals. Can use extra virgin oil, which i usually use when frying, since i don't fry often and it's pretty cheap here, but it will taste different - maybe better, depending on your taste - or other cold-pressed oils. But anyway, all the other advice is good about frying, don't refry in the same oil. don't let the temp get too cold or too hot. Don't use rancid oil. etc. all these are important.

Just remember, years ago, trans fats, and saturated fats and all that, first came out because they were supposed to be healthier than the others. Imagine they were selling corn oil to italians showing an older guy jumping over a fence - to Italians! trying to convince them it was healthier to use on salad than the traditional cold pressed olive oil! And how many people are still using margarine thinking it's healthier than butter.
That's why i get so heated up about health fads. They are often as fickle as skirt lengths.

about soy flour, i always found it tasted foul, wherever i tried it. If you want your onion rings to taste of beans, I guess it's ok.

I read once where the egg in a frying batter seals the food from absorbing too much oil, so you might try an egg batter, though don't beat the egg whites or you produce holes that absorb like a sponge (at least in my experience, maybe i'm doing something wrong?). Again, though, you change the flavor and it makes a thicker batter. You might try egg white, without beating it, mixed with a little water, with flour.

In any case, if you measure the oil before and after frying you'll get an idea about how much oil you're ending up eating.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Siduri;
Actually, I am interested in lowering my carbs if that's possible (wiothout sacrificing taste) since I am diabetic. I will agree with you that Soy Flour tastes bad because I also tried the low carb pizza posted on the food network site and didn't like it though I still think it could be made to taste better with the right combination of spices and perhaps other flours (Other than white).

However, while I havn't tried yet, if you look at the recipe for low carb onion rings using soy flour at Recipes : Low Carb Deep-fried Onion Rings : Food Network

there were numerous people who rated it and not a single person rated it bad and everyone rated it excellent. So perhaps when used as a batter for onion rings, soy flour doesn't taste that bad.

If you do a search for onion rings using bredding made from Almond flour, they are also rated very good as well. Almond flour is just ground up almonds and I so happen to love almonds :-) !

Thanks for all of your additional suggestions. I will have to begin experimenting.

Tim
post #13 of 29
If you're using a batter (wet) coating on you're fried products try using a dose of Vodka (or other neutral spirit) in it. It sounds weird but I read about this a couple of weeks and had to try it. The idea is that alcohol will evaporate much faster than water alone. This "crisps" the coating really fast, creating the seal and reduceing contact time with the oil. I can't prove it, but peices seem to stay crisp longer.

I haven't tried onions but it works great on fish and the batch off eggplant I did the other day.

As for life span of oil it totally depends on what you're cooking in it. If you're using a stable veg oil to cook low startch veg you can get lots of use from it. If you frying only potatoes a little less so (starch starts to get incorporated into the oil and turn it "gumby"). Personally oil that fries animal or fish protiens is single use only. No matter what clean your oil between uses through a strainer.
post #14 of 29
Now, that's a whole 'nother story. In that case i'd be trying everything. But what about chickpea flour? They make i believe theyre called pakoras in indian cuisine fried in a batter of chickpea flour, and they're really tasty, and in sicily they make these simple pancake shaped chickpea flour fritter (salty not sweet) and it fries up very well and very tasty.

Chick peas (called garbanzos in some places) are legumes, but also very starchy. However my friend who is also diabetic, can eat more chick peas than grains. She makes bread with a portion of chick pea flour in it and it's quite good, moist and is a different kind of carbohydrate i believe. (You can also use pureed chick peas in bread and it's quite good, lowering the carbohydrate level by a little, and increasing the protein by a lot, since legumes and grains if eaten together are complete protein.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #15 of 29
I was going to try to stay out of this debate, but the original poster stated that they are diabetic.

I am hesitant to proclaim any health related advice to someone with diabetes.

Diabetes whether Type I (usually child on-set) or Type II (usuallly adult on-set) is a disease where the Beta-cells of the pancreas are unable to produce enough insulin for the body's needs. What insulin does is act like a "key" to open the door ("cell wall") to allow the glucose that feeds the body from the blood to enter the cell.

When the glucose can't get in in quantities to satisfy the cell's appetite, the body reacts by producing more and more glucose. When this happens, the glucose levels get so high, that when the blood hits the lungs, it is "decarboxylated". The decarboxylation of glucose produces acetone. When medics find someone unconscious, they are trained to smell the breath of the unconscious person to detect acetone. This is a key indicator of a diabetes induced coma.

So, diabetes is treated in varying stages. One is to alter the diet to reduce the glucose load on the pancreas. Sometimes this is all it takes to keep the glucose levels under control. IN other situations, drugs are used along with diet (and exercise) to try to control the glucose levels. Control is the key.

Diabetes is the number 1 cause of blindness in the world, and the number 1 cause of limb loss (legs, feet, hands).

Not to mention the neuropathies and other angiopathies that are the result of long term loss of glucose control.

So my advice is, all dietary questions from a diabetic should be directed to a medically certified doctor nutritionist and we all should keep our opinions to ourselves on what is healthy and what is not as far as a diabetic's inquiries go.

Just my opinion.

doc
post #16 of 29
Here's a recipe for the batter of Onion Bhajia/Vegetable Pakora (fritters) that I used to make when I worked at an Indian restaurant. It uses gram flour (slightly different from chickpeas) and has carbohydrates, but no gluten.

Coriander seed
Ginger/Garlic paste
Cumin Seed
Chili Powder
Paprika (little)
Turmeric (little)
Salt
Gram Flour (lots)
Vinegar (little)
Water to moisten

Slice your onions thinly and then add all the other ingredients together in a bowl (leave out the water) Mix the whole thing until it forms a batter and if there is no enough liquid in there (the salt will draw out the onion's fluids), add a bit of water until you can roll the batter up into a firm but not dry ball. You want to have enough batter to enrobe the onion, but not turn have it overwhelm the onion. Fry in 375 degree oil until the bhaji is golden brown.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #17 of 29
Have you ever tried grilled onions rings? Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and ground black pepper, and serve whole, on burgers, juicy steaks, etc. Or oven bake them- just like you do with oven fries.
Meet Austin- destroyer of all picky eaters. He's watching you...
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Meet Austin- destroyer of all picky eaters. He's watching you...
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post #18 of 29
temperature,temperature,tempiture.We stacked our saute pans on the big burner to stay at the smoking hot temperature to saute properly so product can be cooked with minium FAT absorbtion.Temperature is the key to all methods of cooking taught by chefs throughout the history of our profession.Learn through these rooms with me as I am still learning.p.s. I'd rather have a plate of sauted,carmelised rings as I am diabetic but I love the flavor more than fried.Good cooking to you...cookie jim
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Cookie Jim - That's interesting. I've never heard of sauted, carmelised onion rings before a few weeks ago when I think I read a thread about them in this forum. How do you make them and could I use Olive Oil to saute them in as I think that is the healthiest oil to cook with ?

Tim
post #20 of 29
post #21 of 29
heat a lg pan add olive oil,I use ghee though not much, add lots o rings and saute to dark brown.the onion will be reduced to around 3times volume.use as a side dish,they will be sweet from the sugars in the onion.save some to put on top any type entree or in vegies,mashed potatoes,add a little basalamic vinegar and put on toasted baguetts.good cookin....cookie
post #22 of 29

Deep Frying Is Not Unhealthy!

What makes deep frying unhealthy is frying with fats that are unstable at high temperatures. Frying, or in any way heating olive oil is horribly unhealthy. Olive oil and all vegeatble oils are for salad dressings, or dipping bread in..used for flavor. But they produce very high free radicals in the body and are highly carcenogenic when heated.

Use coconut oil to deep fry in, or good old fashioned REAL lard, NOT Crisco. Coconut oil, Palm oil and butter are all very stable when heated to the higher temperatures needed to fry in. And the taste and crispness is amazing!!
post #23 of 29
Ok, so I still get confused here. I have read Mary Enig's book on "Know Your Fats". She is maybe the world's foremost authority on fat metabolism. And yet I still get confused about cooking with coconut oil. I know medicinally as a medium-chain fatty acid that coconut oil is really good for you. But on my containers of extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil it says not to heat to a high temperature. It suggests medium temp cooking which in my book really isn't even sauteing or frying eggs! Haven't read mush about palm oil but would suspect it too is a medium chain fatty acid.

Both of those fats are better because they are almost perfect saturated fats and so resist being distorted from radicals...even better than lard which is still only a partially saturated fat.:roll::roll: Trying to be healthy is so confusion. Can anyone shed light here for me?
post #24 of 29

(empty)


Edited by Luc_H - 10/25/15 at 5:56pm
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #25 of 29
You contradict yourself. Coconut and Palm oil are vegetable oils--made from vegetable sources. Well saturated oils, true. When an oil is named vegetable oil, you're getting soybean oil. But there are some very capable high temperature vegetable oils such as peanut oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, avacodo oil...

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #26 of 29
Just for the record: I worked on that book (George Stella's Livin' Low Carb" and almost gagged when I read recipes like the one for onion rings. :p Some foods should not be tampered with just so they fit into somebody's idea of a substitute. Eat less of the real thing, or give it up. There are many other foods that in their real state are just as satisfying and not "unhealthy."

Just my 2¢.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #27 of 29

(empty)


Edited by Luc_H - 10/25/15 at 5:55pm
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #28 of 29

(empty)

 

 


Edited by Luc_H - 10/28/15 at 10:40pm
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #29 of 29
Luc: :blush:

The absolute best batter I have ever used for onion rings was simply equal volumes of beer and all-purpose flour, mixed and let to sit for a couple of hours before dipping the onions and frying. I always thought the lightness came because of the yeast in the beer, but now I figure it has to do with the alcohol boiling off faster and not allowing the flour to get soggy. Thanks, AllanMcPherson!!!!!!!
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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