very, very simple falafel
February 23, 2011 § 12 Comments
One of the things that everyone who knows me knows is that, whenever there’s a choice between new or old, I will
always usually pick new. Sure, I have my loyalties, but as my mom has always told me, I’m a very fickle person. I guess if I was in a committed relationship, that’d be a pretty bad thing, but luckily I’m not, and being fickle about food has never hurt anyone! Due to my food-fickleness, I’ve tried my fair share a ton of different types of foods, spices, both good and bad. It’s hard for me to pass by something sitting on a store shelf that I’ve never seen or tried before. It just calls my name and about 90% of the time I’ll pick it up and think of how to use it later.
One of the biggest ways that my food-fickleness affects my family’s life is when we go out to eat. Whenever it’s my turn to pick, I always choose something new. (And then you have my sister, whose choice is always, always, always the Olive Garden.) Indian restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Greek restaurants, you name it, I’ve probably tried it or some knock-off version of it. One of my very favourite ‘exotic’ things to eat is falafel. I’ll eat it hot, I’ll eat it cold. I’ll eat it fried, I’ll eat it baked. I will eat falafel on a bus or a train, a car or a plane. I will eat it in a box, on an ox, in a house with a mouse. Honest, I will.
Anyways, I had my first falafel at the age of 16 (yes, I’ll wait for you to gasp and shake a fist at me) in Toronto. We were wandering through the food court of a mall and I still hadn’t gotten over my vegetarian phase completely so while the rest my family wolfed down gyro and shawarma wraps I sat there with my vegetarian falafel wrap and drifted into heaven! Sitting with tomatoes on a bed of lettuce in a warm and soft pita was falafel. Crisply fried exterior, perfectly spiced interior, and drizzled in the most delicious tzatziki I have yet to taste.
In my quest to eat delicious falafel at home, I have been through boxes and boxes of mix. Some have been good but most have tasted like sand mixed with turmeric and salt. Finally I decided to be less of a lazy bum and make my own, and oh was it worth it. Chickpeas, onions, parsley, cumin, cayenne…oh the joy. So while I don’t know whether this recipe from Budget Bytes is the most authentic ever, it’s darn tasty and uses ingredients that are not difficult to locate at all. I’m also curious to know what exotic food is your favorite and if you’ve ever recreated it at home. Let me know in the comment section!
adapted from Budget Bytes
3 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 handful parsley, chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced,
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup flour
Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans and add them to a food processor with the red onion, parsley, cilantro, salt, cayenne, garlic, cumin and coriander (all ingredients except baking powder and flour). Process the mixture until it forms a paste. Some chunks are okay and usually desirable. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. (Note: I like to pour some water into this so that it mixes together more smoothly. If you do this, you’ll probably need to add more flour in the next step.)
Place the mixture into a bowl and stir in the baking powder. Begin adding flour, 2 Tbsp at a time, until the paste becomes dry enough to form into patties without sticking to your hands. Chick pea or garbanzo bean flour gives the best texture but all-purpose can be used in it’s place. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to blend.
Using a small measure (about 1/8th cup or 2 Tbsp), form the falafel dough into small patties. If freezing the patties, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet so they can freeze without sticking together. The patties can be transferred to an air-tight container once they have frozen through.
To cook the fresh or frozen patties, heat oil in a pot until very hot but not smoking. Fry the falafel dough balls until golden brown and crispy. Put them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain and then serve with tzatziki, tahini, hummus or stuffed into a pita.