MOVE OVER MEAT MONDAYS- FALAFEL
Welcome to Move Over Meat day! Today I'm going to discuss another meat alternative for you: FALAFEL.
Falafel is very popular in the Middle East as a fast food. Vendors sell it on the street corners in Cairo. Falafel is made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans) which I just discussed the other day. As a main dish, it's served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini.
Tahini is made with sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are soaked in water for a day, then crushed to separate the bran from the kernels. Crushed seeds are put into salted water, where the bran sinks, but the kernels float and are skimmed off the surface. They are toasted, then ground to produce their oily paste. There are two types of tahini, light and dark, and the light ivory version is considered to have both the best flavor and texture. Tahini is used with falafel as the spread.
I was first introduced to Falafel by JJ in NYC a few years back and I loved it immediately! You will have to venture into some Mediterranean spots if you want to order it out. But you can always make your own at home! JJ and I have done this in the past and it came out great! We used the store bought pre-mixed batter made by Casbah, you can take a look at the box here. I found a recipe online for those of you that want to be more adventurous and make it from scratch!
In any event, if you haven't tried Falafel, I definitely urge you to do so. It's hard to describe the taste, but the closest thing I can think of is hush puppies. They don't taste like hush puppies, but it's roughly the same consistency.
HOMEMADE FALAFEL RECIPE
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 60 minutes
1 cup dried chickpeas or 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons flour
Oil for frying
Place dried chickpeas in a bowl, covering with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. Omit this step if using canned beans.
Drain chickpeas, and place in pan with fresh water, and bring to a boil.
Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer on low for about an hour.
Drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add flour.
Mash chickpeas, ensuring to mix ingredients together. You can also combine ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste.
Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten.
Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes).
SOURCES: mideastfoodabout.com, ochef.com,