The last couple of weeks have been tough. Onion prices have been on the rise, hitting upwards of ₹180 per kilogram. Even though the government has been offering subsidies to wholesalers, the prices continue to soar. This humble root vegetable has become such a precious commodity, that a mobile phone showroom in Tamilnadu is actually giving away a kilo of onions free for every smartphone sold – no jokes! You can read about it here. Anyway … amidst all the jokes and memes about how wedding couples are receiving bouquets of onions, or a trip to an onion farm is the new expensive romantic getaway, here are 5 awesome onion-free recipes that you need to try out!
Pan-roasted chicken breast with baby spinach
This simple onion-free recipe by Michael Smith requires just a minute of prep and a total cook time of just 15 minutes. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 chicken breast
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1tbsp of butter
- A splash of white wine
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat, and add a bit of oil. Once the oil heats up, add the butter. Season your chicken breast with salt and pepper, and place it carefully in the pan. Sear it until it’s golden brown, flip it, and put the pan in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes to finish cooking. Once done, remove the pan from the oven, and let the chicken rest in a plate. Pop the pan back on the burner over medium to high heat, and when it’s hot, use the white wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Let the deglaze bubble and thicken, and once it is reduced to half, add in the spinach and stir till it wilts. Serve the chicken with the spinach, with a drizzle of the pan juices.
Kadai Paneer (cottage cheese) is such a classic dish, and though onion is usually a primary ingredient, this recipe by Niru Gupta uses none of it, yet manages to taste absolutely amazing. With a total cook time of just under an hour, this is the ultimate dinner recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 500 grams of paneer (cubed – deep-fried to a light brown)
- 3 or 4 green chillies (slit a little)
- 1 tsp of ginger paste
- 1/2 a cup of hung curd
- 1/4 cup of oil
- 2 tsp of cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of garam masala
- 1/2 tsp of red pepper, powdered
- 1 tbsp of coriander seeds, powdered
- 1 tbsp of coriander leaves (for garnish), chopped
Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and bay leaves. When the cumin seeds start to sputter, add the ginger paste. Saute all of it till light brown. Now add in the curd, turmeric, salt, garam masala, red pepper, and the coriander powder. Stir-fry it till the fat separates. Finally, add in the paneer and green chillies, and saute over high heat till the paneer is mixed in well with the masalas. Garnish with coriander leaves, and you’re done. Now, how simple was that?
Ghutti Hui Gobhi
If you love cauliflower, here’s another quick and simple onion-free recipe by Niru Gupta. All it takes is an easy 30 mins, making it perfect for one of those quick after-work dinners. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 500 gms of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp of clarified butter
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 2 tsp of coriander powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- 1/4 cup of yoghurt
- 1/4 tsp of garam masala
- 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
Wash the cauliflower and chop it into small flowerettes. If you’d like, you can chop the stalk finely. In a heavy pan, heat the butter and add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds begin to sputter, add the ginger and saute till it’s light brown. Add in the cauliflower and saute it over high heat till it begins to look glossy. Lower the heat, and add in the coriander powder, salt and turmeric. Cover the pan and let it cook till the cauliflower softens. If it looks like the cauliflower is scorching, sprinkle some water on it. Finally, add the yoghurt and mix well till the fat separates. Garnish it with the green chillies and voila! Dinner for four.
These mini antipasto calzones by Giada De Laurentiis need a bit of work and elbow grease, but on a chilly winter evening, they make for the perfect snack hot from the oven. To make enough for 12, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Flour, for dusting
- A 500 gm ball pizza dough
- Cornmeal, for dusting
- ½ cup of shredded fontina
- ½ cup of shredded provolone
- 30 gms of salami, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- ¼ cup diced roasted red pepper
- 1 tbsp of finely chopped olives (roughly 5 olives)
- 1 egg
- Marinara sauce (jarred or homemade), warmed, for dipping
Start off this onion-free recipe by placing an oven rack in the centre of the oven, and preheating to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust your work surface with flour, and roll out the pizza dough into a 14-inch circle, about a quarter-inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut the dough into 12 circles. On the side, dust a couple of heavy baking sheets with cornmeal, and transfer the circles on to it. In a bowl, mix the fontina, provolone, salami, peppers and olives. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and a teaspoon of water. Place a tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto one half of each dough circle, leaving a quarter-inch border at the edge. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling, and press down using the tines of a fork. Make sure the edges are sealed. Do this for all the dough circles. Using the remaining egg mixtures, brush all the calzones lightly, and place them in the oven for about 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the baking sheets halfway through, or till the calzones are golden brown. Serve with the heated marinara sauce.
Makhmali Kofte Recipe
Our final onion-free recipe is another easy Niru Gupta original. This time though, we’re making a rich, delectable vegetarian kofta, in a smooth and heavy gravy. Here’s what you’ll need.
For the koftas:
- 1/2 a cup (100 gms) of firmly packed khoya (solidified milk)
- 6 tbsp of maida
- 1/8 tsp of baking soda
- Clarified butter for deep-frying
For the gravy:
- 1/4 cup (60 g) of clarified butter
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp of finely chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp khus khus (poppy seeds)
- 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
- 2 tsp of salt (vary as per taste)
- 1 tsp of garam masala
- 1/4 tsp of powdered black pepper
- 2 tbsp of cornflour dissolved in 1/2 cup of milk
- 2 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
Let’s start with the koftas. Mash the khoya till it is smooth and no grains remain. Mix in the maida and soda and knead it into a firm and pliable dough. Shape the dough into smooth marble-sized balls ensuring that they are creaseless. Heat the clarified butter in a kadhai. You will know that the butter is hot enough if a piece of dough rises to the top immediately after putting it in. Lower the heat and fry a cube of bread till it is light brown. This is done to lower the temperature of the oil. Lift the bread out, and add as many balls of dough as possible without touching each other. Keeping the heat low and fry them till they are golden brown. Lift out of the fat and drain. Increase the heat for a few seconds, and then lower it before adding the next lot. Keep the koftas aside, while you make the gravy.
To make the gravy, soak the poppy seeds and coconut in some water for an hour, and grind to a paste. Heat the clarified butter in a heavy pan, and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add the ginger and saute it till it turns light brown. Add the ground poppy seeds and coconut paste, coriander seeds, salt, garam masala and the black pepper and saute till the fat separates. Add 3 cups of water, bring it to a boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cornflour solution, simmer for a few minutes and add in the koftas. Simmer again for 2-3 minutes and serve garnished with the cream and the coriander leaves.
How amazing are these onion-free recipes?! If you like them or have tried them out, we’d love to know how it turned out. Leave a comment in the comments section below to let us know how it went.