Monday, May 7, 2012

Falafel, Take 2!

I’ve already discussed my newest, latest obsession with falafel. And pita. The two are match made in heaven. I had already tried one falafel recipe that, while good, I felt needed to be adjusted slightly. Mostly, I wasn’t happy with the overall texture of the chickpea mixture.
I did hours of research. Pouring over and over various falafel recipes from all kinds of sites. Want to know the surprise with the recipes? They're all basically, pretty much, the same! Sure, there are slight differences, mostly being whether to use dried vs. canned chickpea's (most said dried) and some had baking soda and others did not.

My first difference between last time and this time is that when I soaked the chickpea's I used a much bigger bowl and a lot more water. Apparently, the beans need at least 3-4 inches of water to be submerged in. Last time I think I only had about an inch of water covering them. Sure enough, when I got up the next morning only about a half an inch of water remained. Those chickpea's sure were thirsty!

Drain and rinse the chickpea's before proceeding. You want to get all the dried up funk that's now floating in the water off the beans.

Next, in a food processor blend a combination of onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt until finely chopped. If you like cilantro and feel so inclined, you may add some here. I don't like cilantro, so I didn't add any. The parsley and cilantro give the falafel a nice green color.
I don't like cilantro
No I don't
But I like boats
And moats
And sometimes even coats

Sorry, that was random. It won't happen again.


If you are lucky enough to have a food processor that is big enough to blend the onion, garlic, parsley, spice mixture, AND the chickpea's all at once, do a little dance in your good fortune. I do not. I did not dance. I did batches instead. I ended up having to add a little water to the chickpea's to help them blend more, they got a little stuck in the process. The chickpea's should have some texture to them, not resemble the smooth paste-like consistency of hummus.  

Combine all the mashed up chickpea's with the onion, parsley, spice mixture. Add the baking soda and flour well. Place in the refrigerate for 2-4 hours. This helps the falafel really stick to each other, instead of falling apart.
How ever will you keep yourself entertained while you wait for the falafel mixture to be ready? Here are my suggestions: make your own pita and hummus! It's fun. I swear! Remember when I made pita? And since you are making falafel and pita from scratch you might as well make your own hummus too! Aren't Martha Moments fun? Messy, but fun!

For the hummus, I can give you a list of ingredients, but not quantities of ingredients. I've made hummus before and now I just kind of throw stuff into a food processor and go from there. Hummus is made from chickpea's (see a theme here?), garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, olive oil, and lemon. At least my recipe includes theses things. Who knows? Yours might included things like roasted red peppers, tahini (a sesame sauce), or basil. Just think about all the flavors of hummus at the store, pick your favorite, and make it! All you have to do is open a can of chickpea's, drain, rinse, and blend! This was the first time I have made hummus from dried chickpea's. I decided to double the amount of chickpea's I soaked overnight and used the extra for hummus.

After the pita and hummus were made I decided to throw together a little salad to go with the whole meal. Sometimes I like to be an overachiever. It doesn't happen often, which is why I feel the need to blog about it. Gotta document theses things!

The salad I made was simply half a pint of cherry tomato's, a zucchini, and the remaining parsley. I sliced the tomato's, diced the zucchini, and finely chopped the parsley. I sprinkled in a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic. Then for fun I added a dash of olive oil and red wine vinegar for a bit more flavor. The salad was lite, clean, and the perfect side to the garlicky hummus and falafel. I highly recommend it. Some of you might be saying, but I thought this salad was traditionally made with cucumber, not zucchini? You are in fact correct. I don't really like cucumber. It tastes funny and don't get me started on the strange texture. Ew. Anyways, I substituted zucchini, which I love, and it was delicious!

Once the falafel has chilled use a small ice cream scooper and scoop out portions of the falafel on to a lightly greased sheet pan. I decided to bake the falafel this time, instead of frying them in oil. One, baking is healthier. Two, the house didn't smell like a fryer when I was finished. The first time I made falafel I fried them and they were delicious. I would do it again, I just didn't this time.

Serves 4-6

1 lb. Dried Chickpea's, soaked overnight
1 medium Onion, roughly chopped
8 cloves Garlic, peeled
1 bunch each Cilantro and Parsley
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
1 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Salt
6 tbsp Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1. Soak the dried chickpea's overnight in a large bowl, covering them in 3-4" of water. Drain and rinse before using.
2. Turn oven to 400F
3. Roughly chop the onion, peel the garlic, and chop the cilantro and parsley. Put into a food processor. Add the spices. Blend until onion, garlic, and cilantro/parsley are finely chopped. Add the chickpea's. Blend until the chickpea's still have some texture to them. This should not a smooth consistency.
4. In a bowl place the chickpea mixture and add the flour and baking powder. Place in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
5. Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon make 1" balls and place onto a large and lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
6. Tuck falafel into pita's with hummus, tahini, salad, and feta. The falafel is also good on top of a spinach salad.

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