Falafel – so so yummy!

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Dried Chickpeas

Falafel is a fried ball or patty made from spiced fava beans or chickpeas or a combination of the two. Originally from Egypt, falafel is a popular form of street food or fast food in the Middle East.

Falafel is usually served in a pita-like bread called lafa, either inside the bread, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flat bread. The falafel balls, whole or crushed, may be topped with salads, pickled vegetables and hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a mezze.

Unlike many other bean patties, in falafel, the beans are most commonly not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked with bicarbonate of soda, then ground with the addition of a small quantity of onion, parsley, and spices such as cumin and coriander. The mixture is shaped into balls or patties, then deep fried. Sesame seeds are sometimes added before frying; this is particularly common when falafel is served as a dish on its own rather than as a sandwich filling.

Falafel with Tabbouleh, Hummous on Pita Bread

Falafel with Tabbouleh, Hummous on Pita Bread

Recipe adapted from New Flavours of the Jewish Table by Denise Phillips

250g dried chickpeas
3 tablespoons of bulghar wheat
1 large brown onion
5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
3 tablespoons of plain flour
1/2 cup of water
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

1/ Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
2/ Grind the chickpeas in the food processor. Put the ground chickpeas in a bowl and stir in the bulghar wheat.
3/ Put the onion, garlic, parsley, fresh coriander, ground cumin, ground coriander, baking powder and salt in the food processor and season with pepper. Process to form a spicy paste. Add this to the chickpea mixture in the bowl.
4/ Add water and the egg to the bowl. Stir in the flour, adding a little more water if the mixture is too dry or more flour if it is too wet. Using wet hands, shape the mixture into about 40 walnut-size balls.
5/ Heat the oil in a deep-fryer until 180 degrees on a thermometer or hot enough to brown a cube of bread in 30 seconds. Add the falafel patties to the oil in batches and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Recipe Rating
Prep Time: 30 minutes + soaking time (overnight or at least 4 hours)
Cooking Time: 55 minutes
Difficulty: 3/5
Deliciousness: 4/5

Tips from cookbookmaniac.com
* Do not use canned chickpeas for falafel. They have too much moisture. It will make the mixture to mushy and will fall apart when deep-frying.
* I always use a thermometer to measure the heat of the oil. I am too clumsy and fear burning myself or the kitchen down.
* Wait a minute between falafel’s when adding them to the hot oil. They can fall apart when crowded in the deep-fryer.
* Serve these with hummous or toum (garlic dip) with some salad and pitta bread. They seem to taste better dressed with all these things.
* Pizzaboy is not only an incredible artist (he designed the logo’s for this website) but he is also a fantastic hand-model!

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