Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Falafel - Give It A Try

I am trying to find some new dishes to make these days.  I get on a roll with exciting and fun dinners and then I seem to fall into the pattern of same old same old.  Does that happen to you?  So with my creative new year endeavors, I have decided to try Falafel!  It's basically chick peas in a food processor and then lightly fried.  Oh gosh...I said the "fried" word.  Stop it.  It's lightly fried and has to be good for you.  I have seen falafel but have never tried making it.  I want to blog about it today so it will force me to make it this week.  What do you think?  
One of my new favorite sites for food is Gimme Some Oven.  She has some great ideas and this is one of them.

Look at this food processor full of fresh ingredients; chic peas, cilantro, garlic and herbs.  Doesn't it look yummy?
Check out the recipe on the link above or follow below.  
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley leaves, tightly-packed
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, tightly-packed
1/2 cup diced white or red onion
1/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or another high-heat oil, such as canola or vegetable)
for serving: pita bread, chopped Romaine lettuce, thinly-sliced red onions, diced tomatoes, tzatziki sauce and/or hummus

(Note: This recipe requires 10 minutes prep time, plus 1-2 hours time to chill the falafel before cooking.)

Add garlic, chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, onion, flour, lemon juice, baking powder, salt, cumin and black pepper to a food processor.  Pulse until smooth and evenly mixed, stopping partway through to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, so that the plastic is directly touching the top of the mixture (so that no air can enter.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until chilled.
Lay a large sheet of parchment paper out on a work surface.  Remove the bowl with the chilled falafel mixture.  Then measure out 2 tablespoons of the mixture, and roll the mixture into a ball with your hands.  Place the ball on the parchment paper, and gently flatten the ball slightly with your hand so that it is a little under 1/2-inch thick thick.  Repeat with the remaining mixture until all of the falafel disks are prepared.
Heat oil in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until it is shimmering.  (If you add a drop of water to the oil, it should sizzle.)  Carefully transfer 4 or 5 falafel disks to the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until both sides of the disk are browned.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.  Then repeat with the remaining falafel disks, adding extra oil to the pan if need be.
When all of the falafels are cooked, remove the pan from the heat.  Then serve the falafel warm however you'd like.  (You can eat the falafels plain, served with hummus or tzatziki, in a salad, in a gyro, or in a simple pita sandwich as pictured above.  To make the pita sandwich, fill half a pita with chopped lettuce, red onions, diced tomatoes, a few falafel, and then top with tzatziki sauceor hummus.)

Have a great week!