So I’ve never actually prepared a proper dish before. Usually, everything I “make” is microwavable (popcorn, poptarts, etc…). The closest I’ve ever come to actual cooking is heating up some ready-made soup (haulage here). However, years and years ago a friend of mine mentioned having an “Awesome Blossom” at either Chili’s or Applebee’s or one of the other ee’s (can’t remember) and he wouldn’t shut up about how awesome it was! Every time I would visit one of the aforementioned ee’s and ask about the Awesome Blossom, I was told that it was currently unavailable. It’s been years now, so I don’t know why they still keep saying “currently”, because they’re making it sound like it might be available again in the future. Anyways, I finally gave up and decided to just go ahead and make my own.
We were having guests over for Ramadan Iftar/Futoor (breakin of the fast after dusk prayer) and my decision (like most of my decisions, really) was a spontaneous spur-of-the-moment decision. I found an easy how-to video on YouTube (clip below) but most of the ingredients were missing, so I had to dash to the nearest co-op, purchase the missing ingredients, make the Awesome Blossom, pop it in the freezer, go shower (‘cuz Arab spices… stink and the stench stays in your hair), dry my hair (hate this part the most!), style it, apply my make-up (no time to get creative so just some neutral shadow, liner, mascara, lipstick, topped off with some highlight on my cheekbones) take the onion out of the freezer, fry it, go back to my room, change out of my lounge-wear into something more Ramadan-esque (Kaftans usually do the job), light some incense around the house and prepare to welcome the guests as they arrive (all in around 2-3 hours). My life would be so much easier if I just planned things ahead of time lawl but I just can’t bring myself to commit… to anything. Nothing crushes my soul more than having a routine that’s set in stone (I thrive during chaos)!
Here’s the super simple and easy video teaching you how to make an Awesome Blossom or Blooming Onion.
Awesome Blossom/Blooming Onion Ingredients:
Large Onion (to be cut in the shape of a flower)
I could only find medium-sized Onions that seemed relatively large at the time but now that I’m looking at the ones they serve in restaurants, the ones I got seem quite humble. With that being said, I actually made 2 Awesome Blossom/Blooming Onions at a time (1 to be served on each end of the dinner table).
Awesome Blossom/Bloomin Onion Seasoning Ingredients (spices and such):
2 and 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (I accidentally picked up Ghee – whatever that means – because it came in the same packaging as what I would assume flour would have, and had to dash back to the co-op to pick up Flour… again, honest
rookie mistake. Still got the Ghee. Still not quite sure on what exactly it is.)
2 Tablespoons of Paprika
1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper (couldn’t find Cayenne Pepper which is what the recipe in the video calls for, so I made do with what I had)
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Oregano (couldn’t find Oregano so I just picked up Thyme – which is called Za’ater in Arabic – and used that instead)
Egg Bath Ingredients:
1 Cup of Milk
1 gallon of Oil… unless you have an Air Fryer
Dipping Sauce Ingredients (my special recipe lawl):
(or just substitute the two for Mayochup)
3 drops of Soy Sauce
Basically, you just cut the Onion into a flower shape (again, the video shows you exactly how to do it), dip the now flower-shaped Onion into the Egg Bath (milk and eggs mixed together in 1 bowl) and then dip it into the Seasoning Bowl (the flour and spices mixed together into another bowl). I just repeat this step a couple of times until the whole Onion is fully coated. Then I pop it in the freezer for a bit (so everything sticks together, and doesn’t start coming apart and falling off once I start frying it). Ideally, that’s when you would make the dipping sauce (mayo and ketchup and soy sauce mixed together into tiny decorative sauce bowls). Then you fry the Onion just minutes before you are ready to serve (because it cools pretty quick).
The tricky part for me was cutting the Onion into a flower shape. I was so intimidated (didn’t wanna’ mess it up despite the fact that no one was watching me lawl) that I kept dropping the knife. You gotta’ be careful about how close the incisions you make are to the top, because if you cut them too close, the “petals” will come right off. It has to be juuust right, to where the Onion opens up like a flower, while still being safely attached to the rest of it (otherwise the “petals” will come apart during all the manhandling prior to frying). Once you make 4 separate incisions (or a grid, as the woman in the video called it), you can make other separate incisions to get the beautiful flower shape. Again, if you cut them too closely, depending on the size of your onion, the “petals” will fall apart. So you gotta’ be extra careful with how you cut this thing. After that, it’s pretty much smooth sailing!
The Egg Bath is exactly what it sounds like! It’s just the Eggs and Milk mixed together in a bowl. You literally bathe the now flower-shaped Onion in the Egg Wash so when you place the Onion in the Seasonings Bowl (all the Flour and Spices mixed together), the Seasoning would actually stick to the Onion. You gotta’ make sure to pull the “petals” back so the Egg Wash can reach them and then again so the Seasoning can stick to them. More importantly, you gotta’ be as gentle as possible, otherwise some “petals” will come apart (so fussy).
Popping it in the freezer is an extra step you don’t really need to take, but it helps keep everything held together once you actually fry the Onion. Personally, I not only pop it in the freezer but I even wrapped it up in foil, beforehand. Since we don’t actually own a deep-fryer, I filled up a large pot with oil and let it boil before gently placing the Onion in it. There was some splash-back. It hurt. I’ve learned to stand as far away as possible while also using the longest spatula ever, to hold down the Onion (to keep it from floating up and not getting properly umm… fried, not sure what the proper terminology is but you get what I mean, hopefully).
These photos, unlike the rest, were not nicked off of Google (that’s my hand, ma!), but they weren’t taken by me either. The cook walked in and was busy prepping for the evening Futoor/Iftar so I asked him to snap a quick pic for me using his phone (I had my hands full what with my 2 Onion Babies being so needy and all). I’m not sure if I got those Measuring Spoons at Ikea or Lakeland, but those Purple Bowls are definitely from Ikea (I remember squeaking in delight when I saw them because they just look so… fun!) and they’ve proven to be well worth the purchase because we use them for everything from an impromptu Salad Bowl to serving Popcorn in them. When I first started off making the Awesome Blossom/Blooming Onion I truly intended to keep a neat and tidy workstation but as time ran out, I quickly gave up on that (as you can tell by the spilled Flour). I didn’t get a chance to show you the end result of the Awesome Blossom/Blooming Onion because I had to go get ready before my guests arrived and once they did, I wasn’t about to ask them to hold off just so I could snap a quick photo (I’d rather die first).
Ideally, it was supposed to look something like this!
In reality, the end result was something more like this!
Thankfully, my guests enjoyed the Awesome Blossom/Blooming Onion and my younger brother even felt it was Diwaniya-worthy and actually asked me to prepare a couple for his next weekly gathering (which I did and it was such a hit that I started making it once a week for his buddies and now I’m a pro at Awesome Blossoms/Blooming Onions if I do say so myself, and I do!)