falafel

January 3, 2016

falafel

I have been looking for a good falafel recipe for quite some time now but none have inspired me until I tripped upon Suzy’s on her blog The Mediterranean Dish. What set her recipe apart was its pure list of ingredients, no eggs and flour, and the plethora of herbs and spices.  I understand the origin of the falafel is uncertain and “controversial” (how intriguing!) but may go back to Pharaonic Egypt. A good falafel – and this is one – is so elemental, tasty, and nutritious, it’s no wonder they’ve stood the test of time no matter where they are from and when. Try them out in a warmed up pita, with a little tomato, cucumber, lettuce, red onion, and lemon dill tahini sauce and you’ve got one pharaonic lunch.

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2 cups dried chickpeas

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup fresh parsley leaves, stems removed

¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed

½ cup fresh dill, stems removed

7-8 garlic cloves, peeled

Salt to taste

1 tbsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Coconut oil for frying*

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Place the dried chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl filled with water. Let the chickpeas soak for 18 hours. When ready, drain the chickpeas completely and pat them dry.

Place the fresh leaves of parsley, cilantro and dill in a large food processor. Pulse to finely chop the herbs. Now add the chickpeas, garlic and spices. Run the food processor 40 seconds at a time until all is well combined forming a smooth falafel mixture.

Transfer the falafel mixture into a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until ready to fry (up to one whole night).**

Just before frying, add the baking powder and sesame seeds to the falafel mixture and stir with a spoon. Scoop tablespoonfuls of the falafel mixture and form into patties (1/4 inch in thickness each). It helps to have wet hands as you form the patties.

Fill a medium saucepan 3 inches up with oil. Heat the oil on medium-high until it bubbles softly. Carefully drop the falafel patties in the oil, let them fry for about 3-4 minutes or so until medium brown. Avoid crowding the falafel in the saucepan, fry them in batches if necessary.

Place the fried falafel patties in a colander or plate lined with paper towels to drain. Serve falafel hot next to other small plates; or assemble the falafel patties in pita bread with lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumbers, and lemon dill tahini sauce.

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* Note that you can use different oils for frying but coconut oil has the highest smoke point and is the most stable for heating which is important. You can also skip deep frying altogether and bake these babies if you prefer at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

** At this stage you can also freeze the falafels for future use. To freeze, prepare the falafel mixture and divide into patties. Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze. When they harden, you can transfer the falafel patties into a freezer bag. They will keep well in the freezer for a month or so.

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