Monday, July 11, 2011

Falafel Recipe

Hmmm....I swear they're yummy, but the picture is not that appetizing!
This is a go-to recipe in our house.  As long as I've remembered to soak the beans a day in advance, it's a quick meal that everyone loves.  Plus, I make up half the batter for one meal and fry up the other half completely fresh for another meal. 

To go with it, I make up a plate of vegetables - carrot and celery sticks, cucumber slices, and tomatoes, - along with a little feta.  The adults get a plateful of greens to top.  Bean just dips carrots (and sometimes celery) in "dip"  (ranch dressing) and devours the falafel.

I use half the salt called for in the original recipe - the salt in this case really does make this dish yummy, but I don't find myself needing more than the 1/2tsp.

Also, this is not a recipe you can shortcut by using canned beans.  I once tried to rush it because I had forgotten to soak beans, so I tried cooking them (would be similar to canning).  The falafel fell apart!

This is adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything (an excellent book for basic recipes)

Ingredients:
1 3/4 c. dried chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
1 small onion, quartered
1 tsp ground coriander
1Tbsp ground cumin
Scant tsp cayenne
1c. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
1Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
Neutral oil for deep-frying

-put the beans in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 or 4 inches.  Soak for 24 hours, checking periodically to make sure the beans are still covered in water.

-drain the beans and add them to your food processor (fitted with metal blade attachment) along with all other ingredients except the oil.

-pulse until minced but not pureed, scraping the sides periodically to keep the biggest chunks down by the blades.  Add a very little bit of water if absolutely necessary to keep the blades moving (I've never needed to do that, though).  You want the mixture as dry as possible.  When it is minced, you can taste and adjust seasonings accordingly if you'd like.

-put at least 2 inches of oil in a saucepan.  I use a small pan and to 4 falafel at a time in a non-ridiculous amount of oil.  If you use a larger pan, you'll require more oil but be able to make more falafel at a time.

-heat the oil on medium-high until a pinch of batter sizzles immediately.  Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the batter and shape them into balls (The Beast once made patties that he then cut with cookie cutters.  It was really cute and clever.  Bean will happily eat them in standard ball form as well!)  Fry in batches, without crowding, until nicely browned, turning as necessary.  They take a few minutes per batch.

-serve hot or at room temperature (they're edible cold from the fridge, too - but not wonderful.  "Wonderful" doesn't matter when it's 3PM and you haven't eaten since 7AM, does it?  These are a fine late lunch when I just need to stuff my face.)

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