Sunday, September 18, 2011

Falafel Pita Pockets



Life can't get any better than this. I am talking about the time when I bit into my food and I had a taste of the soft pita bread, crunchy salad, tangy pickles and soothing sauce toppings. The burst of flavour in my mouth was a rhapsody that still tantalizes my senses. And this happened just yesterday. I'm yet to taste a tastier version of chick pea (garbanzo beans) fried patties that they so lovingly call The Falafel! 



Before I forget, let me introduce you to my new best friend - Sumac. Sumac is derived from berries that gives it a uniquely earthy tangy flavour. Its a recent favourite and boy oh boy, it imparts such flavour to the falafels. Made me think I'm eating the authentic ones there in the middle east itself. 



Just one thing, falafels are quite green on the inside because they use a lot of fresh herbs. Mine are a little darker because I dry roasted my spices till they were darker in colour and I could add in a little more herbs but this recipe gave me the best flavour combination. Use your discretion, you're the colonel of your falafel. 

They make an excellent substitute to meats and are really healthier. Without further ado, I'm just going to dive straight into the recipe.


Falafels

Makes: 20

Complexity: **

Time: 40 mins

You'll need

2 cups Hummus/ chick peas/ garbanzo beans (soaked in water over night if not using canned)
1 cup fava beans/ broad beans (soaked in water overnight if not using canned)
1 large onion
1-3 tbsp flour
5-6 big cloves of garlic
Bunch of coriander, 1 cup
bunch of parsley
Salt about 2 tsp
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp sumac (magical ingredient)
1 tsp of red chilli powder (more if you like spicy)

Pinch of love

Method

Boil your garbanzo beans for 15-20 minutes. We want them tender but not softened. Remove from water and  place them on a towel so they don't have excess water. Look at the texture here, they look dry when squished and it cracks instead of turning to mush. Perfect! 



In a food processor, cause its easiest that way, add in a bunch of coriander, parsley, garlic and onion. Pulse this a few times to grind them coarsely. 



Just about done. See the onions are still chunky. Pulse it a couple times more.



This is just right. You can also add these all directly with the chickpeas in the food processor but doing this separately just makes it a tad easier for me. 



Add the chickpeas in the foodprocessor. Traditionally falafels combine garbanzo beans with fava beans, but I was out of fava beans. Alas!! But a home cook never frets! I added some sprouted mung bean. Its super healthy, a gold mine of nutrients, and has almost the same texture as that of Fava beans. I started pulsing the food processor when I realised I hadn't taken a picture. But you can still see the mung beans and chickpeas. Pulse this a few times. 



Also add in the herb, onion and garlic mix so they can be well combined. 



Next add in the flour. Depending upon how bread-y or meaty you want your falafels to be, add in around 2-3 tbsp of flour. 



Next come in the spices. I like to dry roast cumin and coriander to bring out their flavours. Just add them to a skillet on low heat like this.



Dry roast them till they turn slightly darker in colour. Make sure you keep stirring them around so they get browned evenly. 



Add that to the food processor with all the other ingredients. Also add in salt, cayenne pepper 



2 tbsp lemon juice.  



Give it a whizz till it forms a crumbly mixture. It won't be a dough though, just a crumbly mixture that bunches up in a ball when shaped. I'm so glad I am this articulate in expressing the consistency levels of the mix.



To this mix, add in the delicious exotic middle eastern spice- Sumac. This is what makes a whole lot of a difference and takes the falafel from here ( gesturing to my waist level) to here ('palm over my head' gesture). You get me, don't you?! Just trust me, add in the Sumac. 



If its too dry, add  a few tbsp of water to it. Divide the mix into 16-20 small portions. Roll them into balls and press it down slightly to form a patty. It will be roughly about 2 inches in diameter.



Now we're going to shallow fry it. No deep frying so its healthier. Pour about half an inch of oil in a skillet and heat it. The oil should just start to shimmer when you place 4-5 patties in the oil.



Be careful not to splutter yourself with oil. I have an easy way to do that. I just place my patty over a slotted metal spoon and slide in into the oil. Easy! Keep your flame on medium while the falafels are inside. If they start to break in the oil, then you need to add a little more flour and some water to bind it all better. Fry all the patties till they are reddish brown. Your falafels are ready!

{Note: If your falafels are splitting n breaking in the oil, add in half about a tbsp flour more in the mix and combine it well. That should help with the patty not breaking.}


Now you can choose to use these falafels in a salad or in pita pockets. I will upload the recipe for a falafel salad soon. For the pita pockets, Have your assembly line ready like so. This pic is from a previous time I had made falafels. I make them quite often! 



Make sure you have Tahini sauce on hand which is made from sesame seeds and has the most beautiful nutty flavour.




And Tzatziki which is a cucumber and yogurt based sauce



Cut the round pita in halves. Lightly toast them so they're barely golden on the outside. Just place them flat in the oven for 3-5 minutes at 300F. Now place your salad first, add in your falafels, dress with the sauces. If you don't want to add the sauces, you can just cut through the flavours with a spritz of lime. Absolutely spectacular! Indulge!!



I made them yet again because they are one of my favourite things to eat... 





2 comments:

  1. Healthy, Tasty and Satisfying. Mediterranean food is simply finger licking delicious specially if u eat it with bites of jalapeneos. ( We Indians love our food 'hot' ). Now waiting for your recipe for kabobs and pilafs.

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  2. Haha yes, definitely! Kabobs and pilaf are in the working.....coming soon! :)

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