Friday, September 21, 2018

Foodie Fridays ~ Easy Recipe for At-Home Falafels

This week, we're going to share a recipe, much to the delight to some of you out there asking for a new one.

I'm really fussy about my falafels. I've only discovered a couple of places that not only make them 'right', they make them with the traditional spices and flavors that are a good falafel.

This recipe is pretty basic because my kids aren't huge fans of East Indian spices, but it's pretty close. As long as the cumin, garlic and lemon is in there, they'll get gobbled up pretty fast.

As always, you can tweak the recipe to suit your own flavor favorites and diet (eg: using gluten-free pitas). You can always use fava beans in place of the chickpeas. I prefer the latter as fava beans have a very distinct, stronger flavor, whereas chickpeas tend to take on the flavor of whatever you cook them with.

They can be served as mini sandwiches, in a wrap, as an appetizer or even just a tasty, healthy snack. And if you're worried about extra fat (and there's about 8 grams per ball), you can always bake these tasty treats to go on the healthier, lower fat side of things. But this girl likes them fried. :)

No matter how you prepare them, though, be sure to have a yummy sauce for serving or dipping. I'm going to include a tasty Tahini Yogurt sauce. Tzatziki dip is also really good. The idea is to serve a sauce that emphasizes the flavors of what your dipping in it. The garlicky, lemony flavors in both the falafels as well as each of these sauces compliment each other to a tee.

I leave you to your cooking. Let me know how it works for you.

For the Falafels:
1 cup of chickpeas (you can always go with soaking dried chickpeas, but this is faster)
1 small onion
2 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley (yes, fresh makes a difference, but dried is okay too)
2 cloves of minced garlic (I usually add 3 because my family likes to stink)
1/2 cup flour (recipe calls for all-purpose, but you can replace with whatever your diet needs are)
4 tsp cumin
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon juice (I add a bit more but you don't want the mixture to be too mushy)
1 1/2 tsp salt
Vegetable oil
24 mini pitas with the tops cut off (you can also use the big pitas cut in half)
sliced radishes, shredded lettuce, tomatoes or whatever veggies you want to stuff pitas with)

For the Tahini Yogurt Sauce:

2/3 cup of Balkan-style plain yogurt (Balkan yogurt doesn't have gelatin so it doesn't have to be drained like regular yogurts often do).
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cayenne

1) In a food processor, coarsely chop the chickpeas, onion, parsley and garlic. (If you don't have a food processor, you can always use a potato masher. More elbow grease, but works just as well.) Add the flour, cumin, baking powder, lemon juice and salt, then pulse until blended. Shape the mixture, about a heaping tablespoon each, into balls, then flatten them to about 1/2 inch. Place the balls on a wax-lined baking sheet and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 12 hours.

2) Pour enough of your oil into a wok or a deep pan to come up to about 2 inches up the side, then heat to 350*. (If you have a deep-fry thermometer, that would be really helpful, but you can always use your best judgment. Just remember that if the oil is too hot, the falafels could burn or fall apart, and if it's not hot enough they simply won't cook properly). In small batches, drop the falafels into the oil and deep-fry for 3 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Drain on paper towel-lined tray, sprinkle with a bit of salt.

For the sauce, all you need to do is whisk the ingredients together. You can always make the sauce first and refrigerate until the falafels are good to go.

If you were going to do the mini-pita idea, all you need to do is put a bit of the sauce in the bottom or drizzle it on top), then stuff 1 falafel in minis and 3 in a large one with all the veggies.

Any leftover falafels can be frozen then reheated at 350* for about 10 - 15 minutes.

Bon appetit!

(Thank you to The Vegetarian Collection cookbook by Canadian Living for this awesome recipe.)

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