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.