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Spicy Onion Spread

Posted May 14 2009 5:01pm
Light dinners have become a norm here at home. It is so easy to get used to, and we wake up feeling fresher than we would've if we'd had a full-blown two- or three-course meal complete with dessert for the night.

Having said that though, even light fares can become boring after a while and there is this need to experiment and bring out new flavors that will make family members sit up and drool. It is indeed a hard task to please palates.

Since we have sandwiches and soups a few times a week, I find this need to improve upon my bread recipes. I tried my hand at onions this time.

Onions are said to be one of the richest sources of flavonoids, these being compounds that are associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. I did recently read a nugget about onions -- raw onions are believed to help raise HDL, the good cholesterol that prevents deposits from forming in arteries. They are rich in key nutrients like vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

Onions are one food item that diabetics can have in abundance; glycemic index is very low at somewhere around 10 and glycemic load around 5 or so. They go great in almost any dish, raw or cooked, imparting some sweetness that diabetics are otherwise denied. Indian cooking uses generous amounts of onions, usually as a flavor supplement to other vegetables and also meat, often in conjunction with ginger, garlic and tomatoes. However, onions by themselves impart great flavor, and can stand tall all on their own.

I made this particular recipe, weary of the usual vegetable sandwich recipes that I make. It was made specially for toasted bread, but leftovers go great when used up with chapattis, rice, idlis or dosas.

This is how it went:

I finely sliced about three large onions into long thin slivers. We get the strongly-flavored red onions here, though any kind of onion will do.

I heated a spoon of oil in my flat-bottomed pan, enough to coat it without allowing the onion slivers to stick at the bottom. I slowly fried the onions on low flame till they browned at the edges, releasing a sweet aroma. This can take about twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, I grated about half a cup of coconut. The coconut is for building a more solid consistency with the onions. It gives it a better spreadability. The ratio of onions to coconut was around 4:1.

Once the onions were done, I placed them with the coconut meat in my small blender jar. I also fried about four Kashmiri red chillis. For a bit of sour to counteract the sweetness of the onions, I added about a teaspoon of grated amla (gooseberry), my souring agent of choice for all chutneys because of its richness in vitamin C. I added requisite salt.

I blended this to a smooth paste. It is best not to add water at all if possible. Add more coconut or adjust the amount of onions to fill the capacity of the blender jar.

The delicious sweetness of the slow-roasted onions is unbelievable. Just spread it on one side of toasted whole wheat bread, or grill between two slices of bread to make an onion spread sandwich. We had this with soup, some weeks ago. Leftovers went great with chapattis.

This dish, however, cannot be stored beyond the next day because the coconut can change flavor. Not that it would anyway last that long. :-D

This is my entry to theCry Me an Onionevent hosted by Ginny of Just Get Floury.

This is also my entry to the Cooking to Combat Cancer III hosted by Chris at Mele Cotte.

Updated May12th:
For Chris' roundup of CCCIII, clickhere.
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