Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Veggie Project: Falafels

This is the first post in my new weekly series of vegetarian recipes. The introduction, in case you missed it, can be read here.

I've heard the sentiment 'I just don't like beans' countless times. I agree that a humble can of beans can seem very boring and unappetising. By the magic is in the cooking, in spices and oils. So today I present the fast-food of vegetarianism, the first step on the way to a full-on chickpea addiction: the falafel. It's deep-fried, crispy, and just a little bit spicy.



Falafels (enough for 2 people with large appetites, aka Audun and I, or probably 3 regular people)

(Based on this recipe)

  •  One can of chickpeas (around 400 grams)
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (if you use fresh parsley, then double the amount)
  • 3 - 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed with the flat of a knife
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy!)
  • Neutral oil for frying
Open and drain the can of chickpeas, and then rinse them in a colander. This helps remove any funky 'can' taste. Many people swear by cooking their own chickpeas, but this is time consuming and I'm, frankly, all about fast cooking.
 
Next, put all the ingredients (except the oil) in a food processor and process until the mixture turns into a paste. There should still be some chunks in there, it shouldn't be completely puréed. A hand blender will also do the job.

In a frying pan, add about a 1 cm of neutral oil (the oil should reach about half way up the falafel balls), and heat to medium high. Now make little balls of the falafel dough, about the size of a golf ball, and squash them a bit flat. Frying for a couple minutes on each side or until golden brown. Placed the falafels on a plate covered in a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Mmmmm crispy fried falafels

Serve with pita bread, lettuce, tomato and a dressing (I really like tzatziki , but tahini is also commonly used). To eat, cut open the pita, add 2-3 falafel balls, and add salad and dressing as desired.

Bonus recipe: Homemade pita bread

I'll often go for the quick solution of store-bought pita bread and tzatziki , but both of these can be made at home. I haven't quite nailed down the perfect tzatziki yet, I'll be sure to share it when I do! But if you have time around an hour before you want to eat, freshly baked pita breads are a surprisingly easy an delicious addition.

Fresh pita bread. Recipe based on the cookbook 'Cappelens Nye Kokebok'.
For 6 pita breads, which is enough for the amount of falafels you've made above.
  • 6-7 grams dry yeast (one half of a packet) *
  • 1.5 dl water, 40 - 45 C
  • 1/2 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 dl (240 grams) white flour (you could try a whole wheat mix)
Mix together  flour, salt, and yeast in a baking bowl. In a measuring cup, measure the warm water and mix in the oil. Pour the water and oil over the flour mixture, and work into a dough using first a wooden spoon and then your hands. Cover and let rise for about an hour.
 
Preheat the oven to 275 C, and put a clean baking sheet in the oven to preheat it as well. 
 
When the dough has risen, knead it and divide it into six roughly equal-sized balls. Roll out each ball into approximately 1 cm thick rounds. Bake the breads directly on the baking sheet without oil for 5-8 minutes, or until they are slightly golden brown. 
 
*A note on yeast: these measurements and the following directions apply to Norwegian yeast. Depending on what country your in, you may need a different amount of yeast, and you may need to activate dry yeasts differently.
 

- The Wild Bazilchuk

4 comments:

  1. This looks delicious! I love falafel! I LOVE BEANS, but beans just don't love me. I started with the dry ones, then the canned ......... still, my body doesn't like how much work it is digesting those (severe cramping mostly). Is there a way to cook them that might be easier on my tummy? I heard canned are easier, but those still make me feel sick.

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    1. Thanks! I wish I could help you, but I honestly don't know. Maybe cook the chickpeas more first to help 'pre-digest' them more?

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  2. Thanx so much 4 the recipes!!! Also, dig the photos of the dog from a few postings ago. Your dog & how old?

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    1. Thanks! The dog is my parent's, his name is Sebastian and he's 10 now. He's starting to slow down a bit, but still loves a good ski/hike :)

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