Falafel

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I have no idea why I’ve never made falafel from scratch before. It is SO DELICIOUS. And somehow very exciting. New. Fresh. Crispy. Crunchy. Nom. Falafel is interesting because unlike most bean/legume dishes, you don’t cook the beans (chick peas in this case) before incorporating them. Instead, you soak them until soft enough to grind up. Do so, mix with some herbs, spices, and lemon juice, and fry as little patties, or balls if you have enough oil.

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This isn’t necessarily something I’d recommend doing for just yourself. But it’s a great dish for company, and actually works okay for one person if you refrigerate everything partway through for Day 2 of falafel.

This recipe is from Mark Bittman, who I’ve mentioned is amazing.

Falafel
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
3 cloves of garlic (or to taste)
1 cup fresh parsley
1 small onion (I didn't have one but it would be good)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda (although I am curious as to how this changes it)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Oil for frying

Let the chickpeas soak for at least 12 hours (I put mine to soak in the morning, but overnight would work too) in quite a lot of water—they will expand. Once soft enough, put most of them in a blender until minced nice and small.  Add the rest, along with all the other ingredients, and blend until fairly smooth but still minced rather than puréed. Taste and season, and add a tiny bit of water if it doesn’t stick together at all (go easy on the water).

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Meanwhile, heat up your oil—I only used maybe half an inch but more better if you have it—until quite hot. Spoon out the batter and kind of mesh it into the spoon before placing it into the pan. You may have to edge some escaped crumbs back into the patty. Cook until brown on one side, them carefully flip over and brown on the other side. They should be quite crispy. Remove from pan and place on some paper towels on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the batter (you can also refrigerate the batter if you don’t want to eat it all at once—much better that than eating leftover cooked falafel).

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Now, for the veggies (you may also want to prep these earlier, to eat the falafel hot). I like tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers but you can add whatever you want. Radishes would be a good addition, or celery. Chop up until small.

Yogurt Dressing
Olive oil
Garlic, minced to your liking
Yogurt
Lemon juice
Tahini (optional)

Heat up the garlic in oil in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Mix in yogurt, lemon juice, and tahini and stir until blended together (there will be chunks of garlic still). This is also good on other things, like lamb meatballs (maybe add a little mint).

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Pita is traditional for falafel. I didn’t have any, but I was making bread that day so I flattened a bit of the dough and it sort of turned into mini-pitas, which worked pretty well. Stuff everything into the pita and enjoy. I sometimes like mixing it all together with the sauce first (or at least the veggies) to get the proper sauce-to-filling ratio.

Yum.

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