Monday, June 1, 2009

R2R: Falafel

I find that falafel can be a very divisive food.  Where do you fall in the falafel universe?  Baked or fried?  Chickpea or fava?  Stuffed in a pita pocket or rolled up in the pita?  My go-to falafel is fried, fava based ball in a pita pocket.  Paul likes his rolled in the pita, for, according to him, maximum ingredient distribution.  

We haven't made falafel in forever, so I was excited to see this month's challenge for Recipes to Rival.  We've never made chickpea based falafel, only a chickpea/fava blend, so this was a new venture for us. They turned out very well – crispy and flavorful, and nice and moist inside, not dry at all like some chickpea-based falafel I've had.  The meal was a cheap one too, and pretty easy if you plan ahead to soak the chickpeas.  

In a related note, I tried to make fresh pita, a challenge put to us by Lori, our host this month. It was an utter failure.  Decent flatbread, but it had no pockets and it was pretty doughy for a pita.  

We served our falafel with homemade tabouleh and baba ghanoush.

Pictures to come when I get home to the camera!

Falafel: Chickpea Patties

Recipe by Madelain Farah, Lebanese Cuisine, Four Walls Eight Windows, 2001

    *  1 pound dried chickpeas
    * 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
    * 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    * 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    * 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes, optional
    * Salt and pepper, as needed
    * 1/2 cup vegetable oil


    * 6 to 8 pitas, tops sliced open and lightly toasted
    * Shredded lettuce, as needed
    * Tomato wedges, as needed
    * Sliced red onion, as needed
    * Sliced cucumbers, as needed
    * Tahini Sauce, recipe follows


Make the Falafel: Soak the chickpeas in cold water in the refrigerator overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and place them with the onion in the bowl of a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the oil. Mix well. Process the mixture a second time. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls and deep-fry or pan-fry in hot oil.

Make the Sandwiches: Stuff the pitas with lettuce and nestle the falafel patties inside. Top with the rest of the ingredients and drizzle with the tahini sauce. Serve immediately.


Sara said...

Sounds good. I did not realize that they made falafel out of other beans, but that totally makes sense now that I think about it.

Bob said...

I've never had fava falafel (that I'm aware of) only chickpea. I like them fried, but I don't care how they are put in a pita. Just gimmie! Sounds tasty. :)

Madam Chow said...

I made the fries and we loved them. I still have to give falafel a try!

Juliana said...

Great husband love falafel...thank you for the recipe...I'll definitely try this one. Nice pictures.

Temperance said...

Your Falafels look tasty. I also didn't know you could use other beans, it makes me wonder what else I can use.