Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I rebounded hard from Passover and ate a lot of junk for a week, most of it take-out.  It culminated with my birthday, which involved cake, ice cream, and cookies.  Finally, I decided to restock the pantry and crisper from Sprouts and make something nutritious.

I don't like that falafel is fried.  There was a baked version online, but in one of those odd twists of cooking, something deep-fried actually absorbs less oil than something baked with oil on it.  Either way, I served it with salad and a cucumber-yogurt sauce much like tzatziki.  And yes, matzoh instead of pita.  I have over 3 boxes left, and that was after getting everyone at work on board with the matzoh pizza idea.

I've never used dried garbanzo beans before, but several recipe sources recommended them when making falafel because of texture.  A raw, soaked garbanzo bean is much more firm than one that has been cooked for canning, and tastes almost nutty.  They also have far less salt this way.  My only problem with most falafels I have tasted was that they were over-seasoned.  I cut back considerably for this, but added a touch of fresh cilantro from the garden, as well as coriander seed.  That's why I'm watering the plant.

1/2 lb dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/4 lb (4 oz weight) yellow onion, coarsely chopped
*3 cloves garlic
* 1 Tb dried parsley or 1/4 C fresh
1 Tb flour
* 1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 Tb fresh cilantro (coriander)
*1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp baking soda
oil for frying

1.  The night before, soak beans in water with at least two inches of cover.  They can soak for up to 24 hours.  Drain when ready to use.

2.  Place all ingredients except baking soda and oil in the food processor.  Process until a grainy paste forms.  You're not making hummus; it should be somewhat chunky.  Chill for at least 30 minutes, to let flavors meld.  1 to 2 hours is better.

3.  Stir in baking soda when ready to cook.  Heat 1/4" oil in 6" skillet.  Once the patties are in the pan, the level will rise to 1/2", or halfway up the sides.  When water drops dance, you're ready to fry.

4.  Scoop out heaping tablespoons of falafel mix and form into balls.  Set balls in oil, about 5 or 6 at a time.  Fry until bottoms are deep brown, about 3 minutes.  Flip and brown other side.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot while the next batch is frying.

Makes about 18 (4-5 servings)

Difficulty rating  π

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