Pickled Onion Salad - Indian Restaurant Style
Sirke Wali Pyaz
Many of you have asked me for this recipe over a period of time. Small, pinkish pickled onions are often served in Indian restaurants world over with pre-dinner drinks. Having asked at several popular restaurants in Delhi and Dhabas (roadside eateries) in Uttranchal province of Northern India, this is the recipe I have come up with. The onions are prepared fresh every morning for that days use. You can serve them for a couple of days after making them, but they loose their crispness as the time goes. The quantities given are approximate and can be adjusted to taste.
250 gm. small onions/shallots /large spring onions, peeled. You can pickle red onions, peeled and cut into large chunks.
2-2 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp. salt, adjust to taste
Couple of small slices of beetroot for colour
3 cups white or light balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar or any other vinegar of choice. It should not be a dark coloured or strong vinegar.
1-2 tsp. sugar (optional)
Place prepared onions in a jar or a bowl. Keep aside.
Boil water and beetroot together. Take beetroot out and discard.
Add salt and mix well. Leave to cool completely.
Place onions in a jar.
Mix salted water with vinegar. Adjust salt to taste.
Pour over the onions in the jar/bowl. Onions should be fully covered.
Leave for a few hours.
Serve drained (without the liquid).
If you can not find fresh beetroot, pickled will do. You can use colour instead, but I prefer to stick to natural ingredients when possible.
Some restaurants add a few drops of olive oil too.
One restaurant in Delhi added whole spices like cinnamon, black pepper and bay leaves to the water during boiling. However, I find that the plain onions, without any spices, are the best.
Picture by Steven Lister; http://www.askcy.com/food/onionside.jpg