I love Falafel = أنا أحب فلافل

I hope that you are having a good week. Mine seems to be flying by–will it really be Wednesday in a few hours?

Monday I missed two of my classes because I was standing outside a parking garage waiting for it to explode. Luckily it didn’t. Somehow I don’t think the 20 feet between me and the building, that may or may not have been rigged with a bomb, would have spared me. The “suspicious package” (insert hysterical laughter here) turned out to be non-threatening. You can read my story here.

On to the food. I’m going to continue my little trip around the world with Falafel.

Falafel, according to Wikipedia, is a “fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans.” Read the rest of Wiki’s post here. I’ve never had falafel made with fava beans. Now that I think about I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a fava bean. A little too Hannibal Lecter for me.

The recipe I followed (sort of) is from the blog Dinner with Julie. It is as follows

Ingredients

1, 19 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I couldn’t find a 19 oz. can so I used a 15 oz. Worked just as well)

1 small onion, chopped (variety doesn’t matter. I used red because I like the color)

2-4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped (Don’t use dried.)

2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped (What did I just say? “Just Say No” to dried herbage!)

1 tsp. cumin (use ground it’s easier; if you use whole seeds toast them first)

1/4 tsp. salt

pinch dried chili flakes

1/4 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour, plus extra if needed (AP works well. I might do a combination of the two if using the WW; it could get a little heavy using only WW.)

1 tsp. baking powder

canola oil, for frying

Directions:

1. Combine chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt and chili flakes into a food processor. Pulse the mixture until combined but not puréed. Note: I did not have a food processor large enough on hand, so I mashed the mix with a fork and a wooden spoon. My falafel was probably too lumpy, which is why it fell apart later. Moral of the story: use a food processor.

2. Add the flour and backing powder and mix until you have a soft “dough” that you can roll into balls or patties. I made patties because I like to have a maximum surface area for frying. It’s quicker and a lot less awkward than frying balls…speaking of awkward.

3. Fry in the canola oil. Mark Bittman, the walking recipe encyclopedia, says to make sure the oil is 350*F. To those of you who don’t own a kitchen thermometer (wave your cheapskate flags proudly, I do!), the water-drop test will work. To see if your oil is hot enough, wet your fingers and sprinkle the oil with a few drops of water. If the water sizzles right away, you’re ready to cook. Fry until golden on both sides. When finished, remove the patties from the heat and drain the excess oil on paper towels.

You can serve falafel in pita pockets or over a bed of greens. It goes well with a traditional Tzatziki sauce, a cucumber and yogurt sauce. There’s a good recipe for Tzatziki with the falafel recipe at Dinner with Julie (link above).

About the title of the post: Yes,  the Arabic words do translate in to “I love falafel.” Arabic is read from left to right. I thought I should put some of the Arabic I’m learning to good use.

Do you have any tricks like the water-drop test? Please share them, I love learning new techniques that save me from having to buy a fancy piece of equipment that only serves one specific purpose. Example: the pickle grabber.


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