I discovered Falafel when I was studying abroad in Israel almost ten years ago. I remember looking at my first falafel stuffed in a pita and wondering what I was in for. After one mind opening bite, I couldn’t get enough! Thank goodness there were falafel stands all over the place. Imagine soft, slightly chewy homemade pita stuffed with crunchy, flavorful falafel and lots of yummy toppings. Mmmm…. just thinking about it makes me want to go back! I have tried a few falafel mixes since returning home. They were not too bad, but I have always wanted to try it from scratch. So when I started to crave falafel last month, I researched some recipes on the internet. Finally I settled on this one from Epicurious, because it got lots of great reviews. It was wonderful! I served it as you can see above with lettuce, tomato, and tahini thinned with a little water (Tahini is crushed sesame seeds. You can find it at most grocery stores). Now that I have a good recipe for the falafel balls themselves, I am going to branch out and make some more fun toppings and maybe even some homemade pita. If you have any great recipes for falafel toppings, please let me know!
Submitted by Mindy ~ The Sisters Cafe
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, pickled turnips or whatever else strikes your fancy. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.
Recipe Source: Joan Nathan on Epicurious