Bawang Goreng (small fried red onions)

Bawang Goreng (small fried red onions)

In the Philippines, garlic is called bawang. In Malaysia, bawang is onion. I learned that by watching Malaysian cooking shows, especially 5 Rencah 5 Rasa on Asian Food Channel. Yesterday, at The Landmark, I saw this bag of “Bawang Goreng” and even before I read the English translation, I already knew what it was. I grabbed the bag (the last on the shelf) and put it in my grocery cart.

Why? What’s the big deal about fried onions? Oh, man, those aren’t just fried onions — those are fried shallots. And you can sprinkle them on anything — soups, stir fries, rice and even grilled fish — and they transform a dish from something good to something so much better. It isn’t just the subtle sweetness they impart, it’s the texture too — the light crunch, the mouth feel of something fried and caramelized.

Much as I love toasted garlic bits, there is something unique about crisp fried onions. I often make them fresh and it does entail some work so this bag of fried red onions will make life in the kitchen simpler for a couple of months.

Bawang Goreng (small fried red onions)

Here’s a closer shot of the label. That’s a 500 g. bag for PhP176.00 (about USD4.21). That’s really inexpensive. There are similar local items sold in small jars but they’re pretty pricey — about a fifth of the contents of that bag for more than half the price. And they’re hard to find too. So, this 500-gram bag of bawang goreng is a steal. And look — the expiration date is six months into the future. The fried onions would be long gone by then.

Bawang Goreng (small fried red onions)

Of course, once the bag is opened, there’s no way that the fried onions will retain their crunchiness and flavor. So, I transferred the contents of the bag into two jars. The jars will have to be kept in a cook dry place and away from the sun. That should ensure that the fried onions will stay good for the next couple of months.

Bawang Goreng (small fried red onions)

Obviously, I couldn’t wait to start using the fried onions. I made an omelet — with malunggay — for brunch today and I sprinkled fried onions liberally on top. The omelet recipe coming up next.

  • loida

    doesn’t onions spoil easily? even if it’s fried? is it safe to keep it outside the ref?
    coz i really love onions in food…. esp. soups

    • Connie Veneracion

      There is fried and then there is dried and fried. That makes a world of difference.

  • ana

    Hi Connie, ‘bawang’ gets a bit confusing when comparing Tagalog with Malay. As you said, in Malay, bawang = onion. On the otherhand, garlic = bawang putih and red onion = bawang merah (i.e. putih is white and merah is red). Anyway, enjoy your bawang goreng. We love it sprinkled on top of nilugaw and pansit + everything you mentioned above ;-)

    • AngelGab

      Out of topic ms. Connie, but i just have to ask :)

      What are those yummy looking morsels in the jar beside your omelet plate? Cookies?

  • Lizzie

    Hi! Here in Denmark we use fried shallots a lot. We use it as open faced sandwich toppings, on hotdogs, mixed with salads, etc..I love it sprinkled on top of pho or any any noodle soup.

    • kotsengkuba

      I think it originated from the north — Bauang, La Union ;-)

      • Connie Veneracion

        hahahaha I think it originated from Capiz — anti-aswang hahaha

  • Albert ERT Rendal

    gotta have this, thanks for another useful tips Connie…

  • natzsm

    Indeed a great steal at that price Ms. Connie.

    I was at the market this morning and fresh red onions were like 90 or 100 per kilo. I have fried onions before for some dishes so I know just how much raw fresh onions one would actually need to start out with to end up with a 500 gram bag of fried onions!

    I will get myself a bag or two on my next visit to Landmark, keeping my fingers crossed that they would already have them on stock and hopefully without any price increase.

    • niceyfemme

      I love this in my fried rice… Natutunan ko sa singapore coz every time I buy fried rice from hawkers usually nilalagyan nila nito…

  • Misao

    I usually keep a stock of this (and garlic chips) in my pantry. Very convenient and, like you said, you can sprinkle them on anything!