I remember the first time I heard about falafel. It was my high school friend Amanda, and we were on a trip to Washington, DC. She mentioned that she wanted it for lunch, and I sort of responded with a "you want to eat fa-la-what?!"
Falafel. Basically, finely minced chickpeas, mixed with some really tasty spices and aromatics, transformed into a wonderfully tasty patty and pan fried. If you haven't made homemade falafel, you must give it a try. It is surprisingly super-easy to make, and a lot of kids (mine at the top of the list) gobble it up.
Side note: For those of you who are short on time, or want something you can prepare ahead of time (even in the morning before going to school or work), this recipe fits the bill. Also, while it is vegetarian, it will satisfy even carnivores.
Falafel with Yogurt Tahini Sauce
2 - 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the flour. Pulse until the mixture is chopped (you may have to scrape the sides of the food processor a few times to help) into small pieces.
Add a few tablespoons of flour and pulse again. You want the mixture to resemble very coarse sand or small pebbles and to be able to be formed into small patties. If necessary, add a couple more tablespoons of flour.
Shape into 10-12 individual 2 inch wide disks (think slider burger size). If cooking immediately, set in the fridge for a few minutes or you can store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. They can be made up to 2 days in advance.
Heat a large skillet to high. Pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch high. Add the falafel patties and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip, repeat.
Serve in a pita with yogurt tahini sauce (see recipe below) or hummus, tzatziki or just lettuce and sliced tomatoes.
Serves 4, if you are lucky. R has a special penchant for falafel and can eat more than SPH and I combined when I serve it.
Yogurt Tahini Sauce:
1 cup fat free plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini*
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients.
Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
*Tahini is sesame seed paste, similar to peanut butter but with a much more sublime taste. It can be pricey in certain stores, but you can store it in your refrigerator and it will last a long, long time. Except in our house as we use it to make our weekly hummus batch and now, this sauce, which, by the way, is insanely good for as simple as it is to make.