Fried Shallots and Magic Oil


Pure Heaven. I finally got around to making fried shallots and shallot oil this weekend, and don’t know how I was surviving in my kitchen before. This simple but delicate process gives you crispy beautiful shallots for garnishing (or, if my mom’s not looking -snacking), and amazing “magic” oil for everyday use. If you’ve ever eaten at my mom’s house or at a Vietnamese restaurant and wondered, “What is that?” It is shallot oil.


Shallot onions are common in South Indian cooking and easy to get in Delhi. Shallot onions look like small red onions, but note: they are not red onions. Notice how they have more pinkish and slightly brown outer skins, but the center of the onion is still purple/red like a red onion.


What you’ll need to make fried shallot and shallot oil:

  1. Shallot onions (this batch I used about 3 cups)
  2. Vegetable oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil has worked for me; but not olive oil (this batch I used about 6 cups)
  3. A deep medium sized pot for frying

Peel away the outer skins and finely slice the onions.  Meanwhile, heat up the oil over medium heat.


Then drop one slice of onion into the oil.  If it sizzles (like a french fry) the oil is hot enough (as seen above). Then pour all of your cut onions in and let simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Onions will appear to not brown at first, but once they do they will quickly! Just before the onions look completely done (see above) remove from heat and drain (since the onions will continue to cook for another 30 seconds or so after removed).  Drain the oil and onions over a fine strainer into a (non-melting) container to later store *magic* oil for later use (note: oil is not pictured in this post as it is currently being kept in a used Prego jar in true Asian Grandma fashion).  The oil can be kept for several months, and I use it for just about everything – from scrambled eggs to drizzling over steamed tofu.


Finally, lay out your fried shallots out on a paper towl over a plate in one single layer to cool.  Then you can store in a container in the fridge and use for several weeks (though they don’t often last that long in our house!).  They will add an amazing crunch and flavor to any dish, particularly Asian salads. Enjoy!

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