Saturday, March 3, 2012

What do we want? Falafel!

Falafel:

I’m a wee-bit obsessed with this food. I don’t know why, but I am. Maybe it’s the combination of crispy fried falafel balls tucked into fresh pita or the garlicky hummus that somehow always ends up everywhere or the crisp veggies or maybe it’s just that all of that is combined into a tasty sandwich!

The fact is, they are tasty. This was by far my favorite food when I in Egypt and Jordan in April of 2010. Small detour: Holy cow Batman! How was that already 2 years ago? Wow! Where is the time going? Anyways…, back on subject, this food is readily found on any street and is relatively inexpensive, making it a great (and frequent) choice for any traveler.

What is falafel you ask? Well, it’s a ball of mashed chickpea or fava beans with spices that is fried till golden and delicious. Falafel can been eaten alone, or tucked into a pita with traditionally pickled veggies and a tahini-based sauce. It can be eaten at room temperature or warm, I prefer it warm, right from the fryer. The history of falafel is unknown, but it is generally agreed upon that it originated in Egypt and spread throughout the Middle East. It is considered street food and fast food and can be readily found throughout the Middle East in markets and street corners alike.

Since there is no easily available falafel here in my neck of the world I decided it was time to take things into my own hands and make my own. Plus, one of my favorite cooking recipe sites happened to post a recipe for falafel. It was fate I tell you!

In a tornado of homemade-insanity I decided I would make not only falafel, but pita, which should be obvious since I just learned to make my own, but also hummus. It was going to be a homemade extravaganza!

I’m not going to post my recipe for it just yet. Here is the recipe I used: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/falafel-sandwich/

The reason I’m not going to post my version of this recipe is because I need to tweak a few things. I was happy with how the recipe turned out in general, but I definitely need to mess with it more to get it just right.

My pita again turned out great! I really really encourage you to give this a try. I know that making bread and using yeast can be a little intimidating, but honestly this is doable kids!

My hummus was just a little bit strange and I’m not sure why. I’ve made hummus before, with tahini and without. I choose to do without for caloric purposes this time. The texture, it was, well, strange. Don’t get me wrong, certainly edible, but not entirely hummus-like. I used dried beans for the first time since the falafel recipe explicitly states that you must use dried and not canned, so I did. I figured since I was soaking beans for the falafel I might as well throw in the whole bag and use the rest for the hummus. I’m not sure I’ll do that again.

All-in-all I would say this new recipe was a success and I will most certainly be using it again! 

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