So, this past weekend, I was on the prowl for making a bunch of things out of my favorite food: the potato. I was browsing through YouTube for inspiration when I stumbled upon a channel called “Cooking Haru,” which featured these cheesy potato donuts. I was intrigued (and slightly drooling). So, I figured I would have to veganize it into these Potato Onion Donuts.
Now, there are some dishes that are extremely difficult to veganize. For example, I have yet to figure out how to veganize my favorite Korean dish of all time-oxtail stew (곰탕). This one, however, was very easy. I simply replaced the regular cheese with my favorite brand of vegan cheese and subbed in plant milk for the egg. And it came out absolutely perfectly scrumptious. You’ll want to make these pronto.
Potato Dough for the Doughnut
The trick to making these donuts is to create a dough. Makes sense, right? It’s actually pretty easy to make the dough, as it requires only the following ingredients:
- Boiled potatoes
- Potato starch
That’s it! The slightly tricky part is figuring out how much potato starch you need to add in order to create a dough that’s dry enough to work with. You see, depending on factors that are really not in your control (e.g., how old your potatoes are, mostly), your dough might be “wetter” than mine. So, I only needed 2 tablespoons of potato starch to achieve a dough that didn’t stick to my hands like glue. You might need to double that.
I did use my hands to “knead” the dough, so you’ll want to wait until the potatoes have cooled a bit for you to handle. Otherwise, you can also use a wooden spoon to create the dough. It should come together fairly quickly and should be pretty smooth.
Wrapping the Onion Rings in Dough
After you create your potato dough, you’ll want to divide it up into four equal parts. Then, you’ll add a little more potato starch to your surface, if necessary, to prevent the dough from sticking to your surface. Next, gently begin rolling your dough piece out into a long rope (about 10 inches long), that’s about the width of your thumb.
Then, you’ll want to take your onion rings (you should have four of them) and line the inner ring with cheese slices. This is why you’ll want to make sure that the width of your cheese slices is roughly the same as the width of your onion rings.
Then, take the potato dough rope and wrap it around the onion ring. Begin molding the dough around the onion ring and the cheese, using your fingers.
It’ll take a little practice, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how supple the dough actually is and how well it stays in place once you’ve molded it around the onion ring and cheese. Once you’ve done one side, flip the ring over and repeat. Make sure that the dough extends into the center of the ring so that the entire ring is completely covered.
Dredge and Bread
The secret to making these donuts CRONCH is the dredge and bread, of course. You’ll need to create an assembly line of the following three ingredients:
- flour (you can use gluten free flour)
- plant milk (I used soy milk)
- panko (you can use gluten free breadcrumbs)
First, you’ll dredge your donuts in a little flour. The key here is to make sure you don’t over-coat your donuts with flour. You’ll want just a nice thin layer of flour. Be sure to tap off any excess before moving down the assembly line.
Next, you’ll dip the donut in the plant milk. And I mean dip. You don’t want to soak the donut in the plant milk. Just a quick dip to make sure the flour is wet and sticky.
The final step in the assembly line is coating the donut with the panko. Here, you want to make sure you really pack the panko onto the donut.
Repeat this process for all four of your donuts and they will be ready for frying!
Frying the Donuts
Now, I already know what you’re thinking: Can I bake or air fry these donuts? Theoretically, yes. You’ll need to give each of them a good spritz of oil on both sides, but I don’t see why not. Keep in mind, I have never used an air fryer in my life and I haven’t tested this theory out. But, if you’re leery of the deep fryer (I don’t blame you), you should definitely try baking these.
Otherwise, if you’re ok with the occasional vat of hot oil, then simply bring that oil to 350° F (or throw a small bread crumb in and if it floats immediately to the surface, you know you’re good to go) and add the donuts. Make sure not to overcrowd your pot.
You’ll want to cook them on both sides for about 2 minutes each until they are golden brown.
Fish them out, tapping off any excess oil.
I ate these with marinara sauce and they were absolutely delicious.
Quick Tips for Making Potato Onion Donuts
- Make sure to season your potatoes before turning them into dough, as this will be one of the few opportunities you have to season your donuts.
- The amount of starch you add to your potatoes will depend on the moisture content of the potatoes. Keep adding starch until you achieve a slightly tacky but supple dough–one you can handle without it sticking to your fingers.
- When dredging and breading your donuts, make sure you do not over-coat your donuts with flour or soak your donuts in the plant milk. You just want to make sure your donuts are fully coated before moving onto the panko breading (which you do want to pack in).
- Keep an eye on your donuts when they are in the oil: you don’t want to burn the bread crumbs. If they turn too brown too fast, reduce the temperature.
- Serve with marinara, salsa, or just eat plain. They are always delicious!
Potato Onion Donuts
- Chop the potatoes into 1-inch cubes.
- Place the potato cubes into a large pot of water (the potatoes should be completely submerged and then some). Salt the water generously. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes for 15 minutes, until they are fork tender.
- Slice the onion into rings and pick out 4 large ones.
- Cut the cheese into strips that are the same width as your onion rings.
- Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Mash the potatoes using a fork, potato masher, or a large rice scooper, until they are pretty creamy.
- Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of potato starch. The amount you need to add will depend upon how wet your potatoes are. You will want to create a dough out of your potatoes, so that when you handle the dough, your hands are not completely sticking to it.
- Divide the dough into four equal parts. Add some potato starch to your surface to make sure the dough doesn't stick and then, working with one portion at a time, create a 10-inch long rope.
- Take one of the onion rings and wedge slices of cheese on the inside along the ring.
- Take the potato dough rope and place it around the onion ring. Then, gently begin molding the potato dough around the onion ring so that the onion ring, together with the cheese on the inside, is completely covered in the dough. Repeat for remaining onion rings.
- Create an assembly line for breading the donuts: (a) flour, (b) plant milk, and (c) panko.
- Coat each donut first with a thin layer of flour. Tap off any excess flour before dipping it in the plant milk (briefly–you don't want to soak the donut, you just want to coat it in liquid). Then, drop the donut gently in some panko, making sure it's evenly coated with the breadcrumbs.
- Bring a pot of oil to approximately 350°F. When the oil is hot, add the donuts to the oil, make sure not to crowd the pot.
- Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until the donuts are golden brown.
- Serve with your favorite marinara sauce on the side.