Monday, May 5, 2014

Falafels - A yummy Vegetarian Treat from the Middle East.

Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of ameze (appetizers). (quoted from Wikipedia)

I have been wanting to try making thee for a long time now. Finally last Friday, I decided to go with my Middle East dinner theme and make these for my family. I bought some cute-looking Mini Pitas from the local grocers' and picked up some fresh herbs and feta. The rest I had in my pantry.
You wont believe how simple these are, to make once you have everything prepped.
So here goes the recipe:

Falafel Patties:- (makes ~30 patties)

 2 cups soaked chickpeas, soaked one full day and night
Oil, for frying
3 tablespoon olive oil
5-6 cloves minced garlic

1 whole bunch green onions (white and green part) finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup  chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup  chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 lemon's juice
2 teaspoons cumin powder
3 teaspoons coriander powder
salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Drain the water used to soak chickpeas, then rinse well. Drain the chickpeas very well.
Using a food processor, pulse the garlic, drained chickpeas, green onions, parsley, mint, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper together. Add 3 tbsp of olive oil while pulsing. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground and a little fluffy.
Using damp hands, form tiny golf ball sized balls and press lightly to form a patty.
Traditional falafels are made into ball shape. I made them into patties because, personally I feel they cook much better that way, especially since I am using raw soaked chickpeas and not cooked chickpeas from a can.
Heat about 3 inches of oil in a cast iron pan or fry pan. Repeat with the rest of the patty mixture, to form patties.
Over medium heat, fry the patties to a golden brown. High heat is not advised as the insides may not get cooked, leaving the outsides too browned.
When evenly golden brown, take the patties out of the oil and drain on paper towels.
Keep aside.

For the Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp tahini paste (or pulse 1/4 cup soaked sesame seeds with 2-3 cloves of garlic and a tbsp of sesame oil and make your own)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper - to taste
1 tbsp minced mint and parsley
1 whole cucumber, grated

Add everything to a blender except the mint, parsley and cucumber and pulse until smooth. Stir in the cucumber, mint and parsley, cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate until needed.

For the Pita Pockets: 
Large or mini Pita pockets, warmed --count 3 minis per person or 1 8 inch pita per person (with 3 patties for stuffing)
Chopped Iceberg or Romaine lettuce
Pickled veggies like carrots, cucumbers etc (optional)

Take a Pita pocket, stuff it with some lettuce, one or two pieces of pickled veggies and a Falafel patty. If you are using a bigger Pita or Lafa (Taboon Bread, usually served in the Middle East), you can use 3 patties.
Drizzle a tablespoonful of the yogurt sauce inside the pita but over the patties and serve immediately.
Remember to not keep the Pita and Falafel for long once you add the yogurt sauce.

Eat it as a dinner, breakfast or even as a snack. These never disappoint! Enjoy! :-)

Also see, Kashk-E-BaadamJan or Eggplant Dip, another delicious way to enjoy your Pitas with.

No comments:

Post a Comment