Friday, October 8, 2010


I used to live right next door to a great falafel place (don't understand those mediocre reviews - I think their falafel wrap in lavash is AMAZING.
I have wanted to make my own falafel for ages, but haven't gotten around to it.  The food network chefs were kind enough to post a couple of recipes; but it was watching Guy Fieri make them that sparked my interest.  If that guy can do it, I can TOTALLY do it.

Falafel with Yogurt Sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for frying
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans chick peas, drained
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons flour
2 cups freshly chopped parsley leaves
3/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Pitas, for sandwich
Toppings: shredded lettuce and chopped tomato, sliced cucumbers
Yogurt Dipping Sauce, recipe follows

In medium skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and sweat onion and peppers 2 to 3 minutes then garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
In a food processor, pulse together chick peas, red chili flakes, ground cumin, the egg, salt and black pepper to form a coarse consistency. Then add flour, parsley, and cilantro. Pulse until mixture starts pulling from the sides of the food processor.
Remove mixture to a large bowl and mix in the onion mixture. Chill falafel until ready to cook.
Roll falafel dough into 1-inch rounds. Then form rounds into an oblong quenelle shape, like a football.  Guy doesn't mention it, but I'm pretty sure you're going to want to roll your quenelles (or balls if your prefer) in flour to help hold them together before you fry them.
In a thick-bottomed skillet heat 1/2 inch of canola oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Cook falafel balls a few at a time, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Be sure to turn them so they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt while still hot.
Open the pita bread to make pockets. Place 3 to 4 falafels inside. Stuff with lettuce tomato and cucumbers and drizzle sauce generously on the inside. Serve immediately.

Yogurt Dipping Sauce (mine, not Guy's)
1 cup non or low-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
salt to taste
1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
chopped cucumber (I like adding my cucumber to the sauce instead of into the falafel, but you could do it either way)

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and chill until ready to use.
Yield: 1 cup

He also made a yummy looking side salad/pasta dish that reminds me of this delicious orzo pasta salad they have at Safeway combined with a pasta salad I make using the yummy artichoke juice as part of my dressing.

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2- inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces orzo
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup diced red onion
4 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped into small 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium size cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced
3 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (1/4-inch pieces)
16 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts (1/2-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons liquid from marinated artichoke hearts
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 to 5 Romaine lettuce leaves

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, toss cubed eggplant with the garlic and oil. Spread on sheet pan and place in preheated oven. Cook until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally for even browning. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions and drain. Remove eggplant to a large nonmetallic bowl. Add pasta and stir in 1/2 cup of feta while pasta and eggplant are still warm. Set aside to cool while preparing other ingredients.
Add in the rest of the ingredients except the romaine and gently stir to combine, adding remaining feta cheese last. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for 1 hour and serve on a bed of romaine on a large platter.

1 comment:

Quinn said...

Mmmmm.... King of Falafel. This seems like a lot of work, but delicious!