Lately, I have been having great fun creating a few Middle Eastern recipes. Thankfully, the ladies who own Aladdin Market near me, have been so very helpful. My first go at Stuffed Grape Leaves was a success. So, Falafel was next on my list. Actually, Baklava was next. However, my Hubby is back on keto, so I need to wait a while for that one. For all of you vegans and vegetarians out there, this recipe is for you!
To be honest, I have never even tried Falafel until I made them yesterday. What in the world? Why did I wait so long? With a lot of guidance from Iman and a bit of my own creativity, I produced some amazing Falafel. Of course, I ran to the market while they were hot and fresh for the yay, or nay. Guess what? Iman gave me her approval. This indeed, made me so very happy. Although I had never tried them prior, once I took the first bite of my Falafel, I knew they were good! Also, points for them not falling apart during the fry. This had me a bit concerned. However, not even a crumb fell off of these fabulous balls of goodness.
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Lastly, this recipe is more about technique and taste, rather than specific amounts. Please do not get caught up in measurements. You will have to rely on your own taste buds. However, I will try to be close to exact as I can. Since I was trying this recipe out for the first time, I only used about a pound of beans, in total. My recipe will yield approximately 25 small/medium falafel. Also, keep in mind that you will need to soak the dried beans overnight.
HOW TO MAKE FALAFEL
CREATING THE MIXTURE
As I was doing a bit of research, I found that most falafel is made using only dried chickpeas. However, Iman, who is Egyptian, suggested using both dried chickpeas and dried split fava beans. Place the dried beans in a bowl. Cover with lightly salted water about an inch or two above the beans, is perfect. Allow to soak overnight. Rinse.
Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to blend in batches. Honestly, I would suggest doing this regardless. Place half of the fresh herbs into the food processor. Add one-half of the onion and two garlic cloves. Season with kosher salt, cumin and garlic powder. Pulse. Add in enough of the beans that would equal three times the amount of the herb mixture. Pulse to form a paste. Taste for salt. If the consistency is not paste-like, add a touch of water. Transfer to a bowl. Prepare the next batch(es), using the same technique. Add to the same bowl.
Sprinkle on the baking powder. Add in the almond flour. If you so desire, substitute the almond flour with the more traditional, chickpea flour. Mix to combine. Once again, taste for salt. At this point, I did add both a touch more salt and ground cumin.
FRYING THE FALAFEL
Using a tablespoon, or in my case, a cookie dough scoop, scoop out a portion of the mixture into your hand and form a ball. I gathered my balls on a glass pie dish and placed in the freezer to set up for just under ten minutes. Basically, for the amount of time it took to heat up the oil.
Talking about oil, it is very important that the oil is not too hot. Just over medium is perfect. If the oil is too hot, the outside of the Falafel will darken before the inside has time to become fluffy. Depending on the size of your pot, drop about five to six of the falafel in at a time. Try not to overcrowd the pot, as you do not want them to stick together. Allow the Falafel to brown for about a minute prior to touching them. Turn in the oil with a spoon to brown all sides. Remove onto paper towels to soak up any excess oil from the fry.
TO FINISH AND SERVE THE FALAFEL
See, wasn’t that easy? Traditionally, Falafel is served on pita. You can either cut the pita in half and form a pocket, or use the entire pita and fold as a sandwich. As I learned from experience, use a thicker pita for pockets. If you only have thin, then use the entire pita as shown in the photo above. If you are feeling extra fancy, make your own using my recipe for Homemade Pita.
Create a salad of your choosing. My salad was a mixture of tomatoes, sliced red onion, diced cucumber and parsley. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Lightly dress with lemon juice and a touch of olive oil.
Do not forget the Tahini Sauce. In a bowl, mix together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin and kosher salt. If you feel freaky, add some fresh herbs. Cilantro or parsley, will work well. Slowly, add water to thin the sauce to the consistency of your liking. Taste. Adjust amounts based upon your taste preference.
Place three to four Falafel onto a round of pita. Add a handful of fresh salad. Drizzle on a touch of the tahini sauce. Garnish with fresh lemon wedges and fresh chopped parsley. ENJOY!
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