2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 gallon vegetable or corn oil, for frying
Slice the onion (see below). Whisk the flour, cayenne, paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. In another deep bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and 1 cup water.
In a separate bowl, cut-side up, pour all of the flour mixture on top of the onions. Cover the bowl with a plate, then shake back and forth to distribute the flour. Make sure the flour fully coats the onion, especially between the “petals.” Lift and turn over the onion and off the excess flour. Set aside the rest of the flour
After shaking off the excess flour, fully submerge the onion in the egg mixture (spoon on top, if you ned to fully coat it). Remove and let the excess egg drip off, then repeat the flouring process again with the reserved flour. Refrigerate the onion while you heat the oil.
Heat the oil in a large deep pot over medium-high heat to 400 degrees. Pat off excess flour from the onion. Carefully lower the onion into the oil, cut-side down. Adjust the heat to temperature 350 degrees. Cook until the onion is golden, then flip and fry the bottom, about 3 more minutes; drain on paper towels. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.
How to cut the onion:
Cut off 1/2 inch from the top pointy stem end of the onion (not the root) and peel.
Place the onion cut-side down. Starting 1/2 inch from the root, make a downward cut all the way through to the board.
Repeat to make four evenly spaced cuts around the onion.
Continue slicing between each section until you have 16 evenly spaced cuts.
Turn the onion over and use your fingers to gently separate the outer pieces.