Crispy Fried Shallots

One of the main additions to Bengali cooking whether it be marinating and garnishing dishes are crispy fried shallots, or what we call “Beresta“. This South Asian specialty adds a whole new depth of flavor to our food and its aroma will just take your breath away. I usually make a big batch and store it in a tightly sealed jar, so it lasts a couple of weeks. This recipe is super simple but very easy to get wrong. That’s why it’s good to just make a big batch, so you don’t have to keep going back to make more.

Heat oil in a deep pot that is good for deep frying. I used a mixture of 1 cup of olive oil to 1 tbsp ghee, but you can use canola or vegetable oil as well. Now heat the oil to medium low. This recipe will really test your patience, but believe me its worth it. It should take a good 10 minutes for the oil to heat to the right temperature.

Add in one piece of onion and see if it slightly sizzles but doesn’t turn brown immediately. If the onion does turn brown easily, then turn the heat down a little bit and then after a couple of minutes add in your onions. I added 1 cup of sliced onion at a time, but you can start off with a small batch. It should take a good 15 minutes for the first batch to turn nice and golden. You really have to keep an eye on it, so once you notice that the onions are starting color, keep a close eye and take it out when it is nice and light brown. It’s honestly better to undercook these onions than overcook, so a little less crunchy may be better than a bitter burn.


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