Thursday, March 31, 2011

For the Love of Falafel

Oh deary me, this is probably my favourite meal in existence, and has been a LONG time since we have made it. It is not exactly a winter friendly ingredient list, and I hate out of season tomatoes. But the warm weather we have been enjoying lately sent me into a craving induced craze, so I broke down and bought some. And oh boy, it was so worth it. I give you Falafel:

This is a homemade pita bread (recipe found here), homemade tzatziki, and homemade falafel patties. This meal is a bit labour intensive, but it is so incredibly delicious, and worth every minute. Here are the recipes:


1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 1/4 cups plain greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. chopped mint leaves
salt and pepper

Peel, seed, and finely dice cucumber. Squeeze out all of the excess liquid with your hands, and then put the cucumber in a medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Taste, and adjust seasonings.


** Original Recipe from the  Rebar Cookbook**

1/4 cup bulghur
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
1 cup bread crumbs
3 cups canned or cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp. tahini (or almond/peanut butter)
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

Roast bulghur on a baking sheet in a 350 F oven for about 5 minutes. Cool, and grind up in a spice grinder, or in a mortar and pestle. Heat olive oil in a pan, and fry onion until soft. Add garlic and spices and saute for a few minutes. 

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until they form a ball. You can also do this part with your hands and/or a potato masher, it will just take longer. You can now refrigerate the dough, or just make the falafels. 

To make the falafels, shape them into little patties, or basically to whatever size you prefer. You can then either bake them, or pan fry them. To bake them, just put them onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes, until golden and crispy. To pan fry them (which is what we usually do), heat up some olive oil in a pan, and fry the falafels until they are crispy and hot throughout. Serve them with slices of tomato, cucumber, and lettuce, and, (of course), lots of tzatziki. 

Seriously, you need to make this. Don't be turned off by the chile flakes or the cayenne, they are not spicy at all. But if you are really nervous of them, just leave them out. The dough keeps in the fridge for up to a week, and can make a nice quick lunch or dinner during the week. This recipe serves the two of us for one big dinner, and at least 2 or 3 lunches. You can easily double the recipe if you have a big family. They are very filling and incredibly satisfying, with lots of protein, fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants. Can't beat that! Now all we need are some garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, and we are set! 

Happy Falafel!


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