What did the one sick garbanzo bean say to the other sick garbanzo bean? I falafel!
Don’t worry you won’t feel awful after eating this falafel! Sorry. I had to. So on Friday night, I wanted lamb in a bad way. I have quite a bit of frozen ground lamb so I just had to defrost some and pick up some feta, pitas, and a couple of other things at the store. I was so disappointed by the state of the pitas that I ended up making my own. I know it sounds crazy but it really isn’t terribly difficult. Plus, you can multi-task during nap time, housework (which I avoided that day) and picking up any older kiddos from school. And, if you happen to have extras, you can have two wonderful mediterranean meals in a matter of days.
I have tried LOTS of falafel and falafel recipes. I just like my recipe best. You can use this recipe as a guide and tweak it to your liking and your family’s tastebuds. For the pitas…it is just a no brainer. If I’m going to eat bread, it had better be worth it. A couple of tips: get
fresh yeast and if you live in a dry climate like I do, make sure you have plenty of flour. A pizza stone helps but it is NOT necessary. A jellyroll pan (turned over in your oven) will work beautifully.
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 red large onion, roughly chopped
2-3 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp either mint or cilantro
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
4-6 Tbsp flour
oil for frying (Safflower, avocado, coconut or grape seed are all good for high heat)
chopped tomato, onion, bell pepper, olives for garnish (you may use some or all of them)
Harissa sauce (North African/Mediterranean hot sauce)
pita bread (recipe follows)
1. Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined but not pureed. Then sprinkle the baking powder and several tablespoons of flour and pulse until combined. Place in a bowl and chill for a couple of hours.
2. Form the mixture into balls about the size of walnuts still in their shells then flatten them slightly to form little patties about the size of sliders. Unless you have a deep fryer, it is not worth it to try and do true falafel balls.
3. When you’re ready to cook. Heat approximately an inch oil of your choice in a pan. You can do a test
patty to determine if you need more flour. If the test patty falls apart you can add the remaining flour a half tablespoon at a time. You can cook up to 6-8 patties at a time without crowding or lowering the temperature of the oil too much. Fry until golden brown, flipping once. Then drain on paper towels and continue in batches until mixture is gone.
4. Stuff the falafel into pitas and add your chosen accoutrements and enjoy!
(Note: my pita recipe is from the Joy of Cooking)
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar or honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry yeast
2-3 Tbsp melted butter, EVOO, or coconut oil
1 1/4 cups room temperature H2O
1. Place all dry ingredients in to bowl (of a stand mixer or otherwise). Mix by hand or on low in a stand
mixer for about 1 minute to blend all ingredients, then add the wet team. Knead with a dough hook on low or by hand for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth, soft and elastic. Add flour or water as needed. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl and turn it once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until double in volume, about 1-1 1/2 hours. (It all depends on your definition of room temperature. If your oven has a “proofing” setting, use it. They are usually pretty reliable. Or put it in your laundry room while you’ve got the drying going.
2. Punch the dough down, divide equally into 8 pieces and roll the pieces into balls. Cover and let them rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you do not have a pizza or baking stone, place a baking sheet upside on an oven rack to serve as a hearth.
3. On a very lightly floured surface, roll out each ball of dough into a thin round, about 8 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Spay the stone or pan with water and wait 30 seconds. Then place as many dough rounds as will fit without touching, directly onto the hearth. Bake until the dough puffs into a balloon, about 3 minutes, wait 30 seconds, then remove each bread to a rack to cool. Or, if you’re my husband, shove one directly into your mouth and complain that it’s burning your mouth.