Monday, January 12, 2009
Fancy some falafel (sandwich)?
Falafel is very popular Middle Eastern dish, with almost every country having its own way of making and serving it. The Egyptians use fava beans, the Israeli version uses chickpeas, some others, a combination of the two. Though the ones made with chickpeas is today the most popular way of making falafel.
Now falafel is something I have tried making at home only recently. For the longest of time, I didn't need to make them at home. When we were in Dubai, we just had to say'falafel' and there'd be so many restaurants to choose from. even the supermarkets had great frozen ones, so there was absolutely no need to make them from scratch.
When we moved here, falafel fell off the radar, so to speak.
Till the other day, when I had soaked chickpeas to make the ubiquitous chhole for dinner. But the husband somehow didn't want to have chhole. I had to make something with the soaked chickpeas and settled on falafel, with a bit of trepidation though.
Because all the recipes I had in my cookbooks and the ones I looked up on the net called for a food processor which I don't have. But I decided to press on, wondering what the chickpeas would do to my blender blades.
I needn't have worried at all. The chickpeas were very nicely soaked (this is the key) and so the blender is fine, the falafels were nice and the recipe is a keeper.
I took the recipe from here and tweaked it just a little bit.
1/2 cup chickpeas soaked 24 hrs
1 onion, chopped
3 tbsp coriander
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin, roasted and powdered
1/2 tsp anardana powder (pomegranate seed powder)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp pepper, coarsely ground
salt to taste
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
oil for frying
Soak the chickpeas for 24 hrs in sufficient water. This is the key, the chickpeas have to be well soaked. Let them drain for about 20 mins before processing them.Add onions, coriander, and all the spices and blend till you have a coarse mixture. Don't add any water at all. Initially, I felt as if my blender was going to give way - oh it was really groaning and complaining - but eventually, the water content of the onions and the coriander eases the mixing. You should end up with a gritty mixture.
Empty the contents in a bowl and add the baking powder and the flour (I didn't have plain flour and used self raising- and so omitted the baking powder), a little at a time (you could need more or lesser than what I have indicated) till you have a nice ball of dough, firm enough to shape into balls. Cover the dough and let it rest in the fridge. Just before serving, shape them into small balls and fry.Heat oil (the way to test if the oil has reached the right temperature - in the absence of a food thermometer is to drop a little dough in the oil. If it sinks and comes back to the surface immediately, it is good to go) and fry on medium heat till they are golden brown on the outside. This should take not more than 5-6 mins. Drain on a kitchen towel before serving.
Now, I have my reservations about anything deep fried, and so I also tried baking them. Here's the truth: they taste nice when baked, but doesn't quite stack up to the taste of the deep fried ones. So, I will stick to the deep fried ones...in any case, one is entitled to indulge sometimes! Moreover, they don't drink up too much oil, in fact, the fried falafels were absolutely non greasy!
Do ensure that you fry the falafels just before serving (cold ones re-heated in the micro don't quite male the cut). The dough will stay for a day or two in the fridge - mine did - and we had falafel sandwiches for brunch the next morning.
For the sandwiches, you'll need:
Some salad (I made onion salad - sliced onions with lemon juice, green chillies, coriander, sugar and salt)
Pickle (I used pickled olives)
Tzatziki sauce/dip (will post this soon)
Toast the pita bread, cut into half and separate the two layers to make a pocket. Spread the tzatziki sauce on the thicker side of the pocket. Flatten the falafel between your palms and place them on the sauce. Next, put the pickles, the tomatoes and the salad.
And now, for the one size fits all kinda thing, I am sending this to:
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!