I think we may be going through the moon’s Falafel phase, because a couple other Vegan Mofo bloggers have made and blogged about falafels in the last couple of days. (Hi, Jeni!)
If you’ve never had a homemade falafel sandwich, you are really missing out on something Very Delicious and Very Delectable. While bought ones CAN be good… even really very yummy and tasty… they can also be not very good at all.
Make falafels yourself and you can be guaranteed of making a lip-smacking good meal. (The kind that makes you wish you’d made more, even when you’re stuffed full of falafel goodness and couldn’t possibly eat any more.)
A warning to the fried-food-phobics out there! These are fried, specifically deep-fried. But they are soooo good.
Some falafels are made with dried chickpeas which have been soaked overnight but not cooked (I think this is the “authentic” way). The first time Mr Thrifty and I attempted homemade falafels this way, the pesky little balls fell apart in the fryer. Falafel crumbs! We rescued the batch by mixing the remainder with a tin of pureed chickpeas to hold them together. Success! Though perhaps not completely authentic.
We always make enough of these to do three meals of four sandwiches (yes, Mr Thrifty and I have two sandwiches each… they are that good!)
Tahini paste is like peanut butter, but made with sesame seeds. It has recently almost doubled in price at some places in these parts, so shop around.
Instead of the tin of chickpeas, you can use home-cooked chickpeas (which is what I usually do), and use a bit of cooking liquid instead of the reserved liquid from the tin. Start with 110g (1/2 cup) dry chickpeas and let Stanley cook ’em!
Heavenly falafel sandwiches
|For the falafels
||(makes 24, enough for 12 sandwiches)|
|250g||dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 24 hours||1-1/8 cups|
|1 teaspoon||bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)||1 teaspoon|
|1 teaspoon||salt||1 teaspoon|
|1||small onion, very finely chopped||1|
|handful||fresh coriander (cilantro), very finely chopped||handful|
|1 tablespoon||lemon juice||1 tablespoon|
|4||cloves garlic, minced||4|
|1 teaspoon||cumin seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and ground||1 teaspoon|
|1 teaspoon||ground coriander seeds||1 teaspoon|
|1/8 teaspoon||cayenne pepper||1/8 teaspoon|
|freshly ground pepper to taste|
|400g tin||chickpeas, drained & rinsed (reserve liquid)||14 ounce can|
|2-3 tablespoons||reserved chickpea liquid||2-3 tablespoons|
|1 tablespoon||tahini paste||1 tablespoon|
|lemon juice & salt for sprinkling over hot falafels|
|For the salad||(enough for four sandwiches)|
|300g||finely diced cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion||2 cups|
|2 tablespoons||minced fresh coriander (cilantro)||2 tablespoons|
|salt to taste|
|For the tahini sauce
||(enough for four sandwiches)
|4 tablespoons||tahini paste||4 tablespoons|
|4 tablespoons||water||4 tablespoons|
|4 teaspoons||lemon juice||4 teaspoons|
|1||clove garlic, minced||1|
|1/8 teaspoon||cayenne||1/8 teaspoon|
|salt to taste|
1. Drain soaked chickpeas and put them in a food processor. Add bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and salt. Turn machine on and blend until you have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. (I do this in two batches as I have a small food processor.)
2. Empty the chickpeas crumbs into a large bowl. Add the onion, fresh coriander (cilantro), lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne and pepper. Mix gently.
3. In a food processor or blender, combine tinned chickpeas with 1 tablespoon tahini and 2 tablespoons chickpea liquid. Process until smooth. Scrape down sides and add more chickpea liquid if necessary to make a smooth paste.
3. Add the chickpea puree to the chickpea crumb mixture and mix thoroughly. Form into small patties and deep-fry in batches at 180C until golden (about 3 minutes). Don’t do more than one layer at a time.
4. Remove from fryer and drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper. Sprinkle hot falafels with lemon juice & salt. Repeat with remaining falafels.
5. To make salad, combine diced vegetables with fresh coriander (cilantro) and salt.
6. Warm pita breads and slit one side open. Use about 1/2 cup salad and two falafels per pita, and spoon tahini sauce over top.
Remaining falafels can be frozen. Reheat in a 160C (320F) oven for 20 minutes, until hot.