Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Middle Eastern Falafel Plate

I can't begin to tell you how many falafel recipes I've tried in my lifetime.  I have used boxed mixes from Middle Eastern stores, bulk mixes from health food stores, and made numerous recipes found on the internet and in cookbooks.  And no matter what I do I still can't get the consistency and flavor of my favorite falafel restaurant, The Falafel's Drive-In in San Jose.  There's just something about their falafels--they are crunchy on the outside and fluffy and bright green on the inside. 

In my quest for the perfect falafel recipe, I've used fresh chickpeas in place of dried, added fresh fava beans to dried chickpeas, used cooked chickpeas and tried practically every herb/spice combination.  I have also experimented using peanut oil, canola oil and olive oil for deep frying or pan searing and formed the falafels into disks or balls.  Perhaps I should just give up, or better yet, apply for a job at Falafel's Drive-In to learn their secrets.  In the meantime, I'll just make the drive to San Jose whenever I need my falafel fix!  This recipe is good, but not back to the kitchen for me!   

Falafel Ingredients:

2 cups chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours, drained and dried with paper towels
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 liter Canola oil for deep frying

  • Place drained and dried chickpeas in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.  Add all other ingredients (except canola oil) and pulse until combined.  Do not grind to a paste, you still want some texture.
  • Using a tsp form mixture into small balls or disks.  I used a small ice cream scooper for consistency.
  • Let falafels balls chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes for flavors to combine.
  • Heat oil in a deep dutch oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add falafels in batches and cook until golden brown about 3-4 minutes.
  • Drain on paper towels and keep warm. 

8 oz Vegan sour cream (I used Follow Your Heart Brand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups English cucumber, finely diced
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely minced
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely minced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Note:  Normally I serve falafels with Tahini Mint Sauce, but I had left over Tzatziki from another dinner and so I used this instead.

  • Mix together all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for flavors to combine.
I served my falafels with homemade hummus garnished with hot sauce and zatar and a cucumber-tomato salad with red wine-oregano vinaigrette.


No comments:

Post a Comment