Monday, May 10, 2010

How to Make the Best Falafel

One of the favorite new food discoveries I made on our recent LA trip was falafel. Last week, we made it at home, and it wasn’t as complicated as I had anticipated. At first, it seemed time consuming, but when you break it down, it’s not too bad.
For example, You can make the tahini sauce ahead of time. (In case you didn’t know: Tahini is made of ground sesame seeds, is smooth and liquid, and has a slightly nutty flavor.) The night before you made this dish, just soak the beans, then for dinner that night you grind them up with the spices, make little balls, and fry them. Serve on pita bread with tomato, sprouts, and drizzle your tahini sauce over it, and bam- you’ve found Mediterranean bliss. Once again, this recipe is based on the version I tried in the Moishe’s stall at the LA Farmer’s Market.

Moishe’s Falafel

For the tahini sauce:
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of kosher salt

For the falafel:
1 cup dried chickpeas, picked through and rinsed
1/2 cup peeled and split dried fava beans, picked through and rinsed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Canola or other vegetable oil for frying
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 whole wheat pita breads, warmed
Alfalfa sprouts and sliced tomatoes for serving

Make the tahini sauce:
1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Process on high speed to make a smooth and creamy sauce. If it gets too thick as it sits, mix in a little bit more water or lemon juice to thin it before serving.

Make the falafel:
1. Put the dried chickpeas and fava beans in separate bowls and add cool water to cover by 2 inches. Soak the beans in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 1 day; they will swell to double their original size. Drain and rinse separately.
2. Put the soaked chickpeas in a food processor and process until well ground (about the consistency of cornmeal). Scrape the chickpeas into a large bowl. Process the fava beans in the same way and add them to the bowl with the chickpeas.
3. Add the onion, bell pepper, parsley, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand until the ingredients are well combined. Refrigerate while heating the oil; this should take about 15 minutes.
4. Pour oil into a cast-iron skillet, or deep, heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of about 3 inches and heat to medium high heat.
5. Add the baking powder to the falafel mixture and toss with your hands to blend. Roll the falafel mixture into 16 balls (about the size of Ping-Pong balls), then press and pat each ball with your fingers to flatten them slightly. Carefully slip a few falafel at a time into the hot oil, using a slotted spoon to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom. Fry, turning as needed, until the falafel are crisp and golden on all sides, about 2 minutes per batch. As they are finished, transfer the falafel to a platter lined with paper towels to drain.
6. To serve, cut your pita bread in half and open one half, filling it with a couple of falafel, sprouts, tomato slices, and drizzling all liberally with tahini sauce.

1 comment:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!