January 4, 2010

Another Day of Legumes: Fala-FULL!

We love falafel. In fact, I simply love the word falafel. How awesome to eat something that's as tasty as it is fun to say! If we ever get a cat, I'd like a big floppy hairy one we could call Falafel.

But I digress... I found the perfect recipe for falafel in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Make sure you dry the chickpeas totally before processing in your blender or food processor. For this recipe, it's crucial that the mixture is fairly dry but can still come together to form patties. Drain and dry the chickpeas uncovered overnight in a paper-towel-lined bowl in your fridge. If you find yourself with a rather moist mixture, just add a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chickpea flour (found at Whole Foods or ethnic markets). This recipe is a spot on the spicy side, so feel free to adjust seasonings to your tolerance level. I also add about 2 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste) to my tzatziki sauce, but I've given you one here via hyperlink that works fine if you're not a tahini fan. Last but not least, I adjusted the falafel patty frying process so that you can use less oil, keeping it more healthful.

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and dried overnight
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small onion, quartered
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Neutral oil for frying (canola or grapeseed work best)

Add chickpeas and all ingredients through lemon juice to a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary; add one or two tablespoons of water if necessary to allow the machine to do its work, but keep mixture as dry as possible. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Heat oil to about 1-inch depth in a heavy-bottom shallow saucepan. Oil should be about 350 degrees F for frying, but you can also use a smidge of falafel mix to test. While oil is heating, form mixture into patties, about 1/2-inch thick and 2 inches across. Fry in batches and drain on paper-towel-lined plate. Serve hot or at room temperature, in pita pockets or flatbreads with tzatziki sauce.

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