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BIR Cooked Onion

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Prepare your onions just like they do in your favourite British Indian restaurant!

British Indian restaurant style fried onions

Prepared fried onions for use in British Indian restaurant style curries

British Indian restaurant style cooking definitely requires a lot of forward planning and cooking. From pre-cooking meat to slowly simmering curry sauces, from roasted spice blends to this cooked onion recipe, you’ve got to plan ahead if you want to get the flavour right!

Most British Indian restaurant style curry sauces are very smooth. Sometimes, though, the curry needs just a bit more. Curries such a dry bhunas and spicy jalfrezis often have a bit more crunch to them. Adding a spoon full of this cooked onion mixture will do just that.

In the many British Indian restaurant kitchens that I’ve visited, there is usually a nice tub of cooked onions at the ready for when they are needed. The onions can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.


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Yield: 4

British Indian Restaurant (BIR) Style Cooked Onion

British Indian Restaurant (BIR) Style Cooked Onion

Whether you are cooking for a large or small group, you can easily make this recipe smaller or larger to suit your requirements.


  • 4 onions - finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil/ghee
  • 1 green pepper (capsicum) and 1 red pepper - sliced
  • 1 teaspoon paanch phoron*
  • A pinch of turmeric


  1. Heat the oil/ghee in a large pot.
  2. Toss in the paanch phoron and let the spices sizzle for about then seconds before adding the sliced onions and peppers. Be careful not to burn the spices. If you do, start over!
  3. Fry the onion and pepper slices for about fifteen minutes until soft and translucent but they still have a bit of crunch!
  4. Add the turmeric and stir to combine.
  5. Pour the mixed fried onion mixture into a bowl to cool and use as required.


*Paanch Phoron translated ‘5 spices’ is a whole spice blend of equal parts of spice including fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and fennel seeds. You can blend your own though the whole spice mix is readily available at Asian shops.

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