Mmm falafel. This ancient Middle Eastern vegetarian pattie has long been one of my favorite foods. And with hummus and a refreshing quinoa tabouli salad, it is especially delicious.
As a resident of New York there is no shortage of places where you can find falafel (Taim and Azuri Cafe are perhaps my favorites). However, often times the patties are deep fried in who-knows-what-quality oil. The healthier baked versions, like those at upstart Chickpea, don't quite do it for me.
I have long searched for a way to make them at home - from box mixes to recipes using canned chickpeas, all of which in my opinion missed the mark.
Fortunately, my long search ended this weekend. Thanks to a great recipe inspired by the eat well cookbook. Like the traditional falafel, this one uses dried fava beans. Which, can usually be found at Middle Eastern grocery stores. If you have no luck, you can always substitute with dried chickpeas.
Makes 20 falafel patties
1 cup dried fava beans, soaked in cold water overnight
1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp baking soda
1 heaped tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
coconut oil for light frying
Combine drained, uncooked fava beans and chickpeas in a food processor. Process until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add onion, garlic, herbs, spices, lemon juice, baking soda, salt and pepper and continue to process until well blended. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if necessary for machine to run. Let sit for 30 minutes for flavors to blend.
Cover the bottom of a large deep pan with coconut oil over medium high heat. (A cast iron pan is great for this.) I choose to lightly fry the patties as oppose to submerging them in inches of oil. Make sure the oil is hot before inserting the patties (it should sizzle when in contact with the batter).
Then using hands, shape heaped teaspoons of falafel mixture into small flat patties. Fry in batches, without crowding. A couple minutes on each side or until brown. You will need to reapply oil during this process. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.
I highly recommend serving the falafel with a side of quinoa tabouli. Cause, you know, it looks prettier.
Fortunately, it is very easy to make, and can be done while you are preparing the falafel.
The recipe calls for using quinoa, a South American whole grain, that is becoming increasingly common in the states. It is high in protein and a great substitute for traditional bulgar wheat. Especially for those with wheat allergies (like myself).
Quinoa Tabouli Recipe
Makes 4 servings
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then let simmer, covered over medium heat for 15 minutes until most of water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove lid, stir once, and continue to simmer until all water is evaporated. Cool. Stir in parsley, tomatoes, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Don't forget the hummus!