Monday, August 25, 2008

Falafel Sandwiches

About Falefel Sandwiches

Falafel is an eastern Arab flavorful fried vegetable and spice mixture. It is most commonly served as a fast-food type sandwich inside a pita. These pockets of flavor and crunch are sold by street vendors along many Middle Eastern city streets. This dish is rich in fiber, protein and vitamins and is a very popular selection for vegetarians and vegans.

Here’s a recipe for six falafel patties meant to serve in pita bread:

Ingredients:
  • 8oz package of dried chick peas
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 slice of white bread, soaked in water
  • Cayenne ¼ teaspoon
  • Coriander, ground 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin, ground 1 teaspoon
  • Baking powder or bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon
  • Canola oil
  • Lemon wedges
  • Topping of your choice: tahini, etc.,
Preparation:
  1. Soak the peas (or beans of your choice) overnight. Then cover with fresh water; bring to a boil and then, simmer for one hour.
  2. Drain the cooked peas or beans and blend to a pureed consistency.
  3. Squeeze the water from the bread and add to the pureed peas.
  4. Add in the spices, garlic and onion.
  5. Wet your hands and knead the mixture well for several minutes.
  6. Let rest for 2 hours in a covered bowl, then separate (with wet hands) and roll/form into patties.
  7. Heat oil (preferably canola oil) to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Fry each patty until browned – approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Drain on paper towels and squeeze fresh lemon wedges over them.
  10. Assemble into pita sandwich and top as desired.
Falafel Sandwiches with Sesame Mint Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons, plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3 good quality pita breads, cut in 1/2
  • Sesame Mint Yogurt Sauce, recipe follows

Fixing

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces

In a food processor, combine the garbanzo beans, 3 to 4 tablespoons flour, Herbs, garlic, cumin, cayenne, egg, and salt and pepper; pulse together until almost smooth. Transfer mixture to bowl. The mixture should be firm enough to form balls; if not, add additional flour as needed. Shape mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Toss in remaining 1/2 cup flour to coat all over. Set aside until oil is hot enough to fry.

Heat oil over medium-high heat until about 375 degrees F. Test with some extra falafel mix to see if the temperature is right; it should sink and rise to the surface and float. Add falafel balls in batches so as not to crowd them and cook until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Carefully remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Fill pita halves with a few falafel balls, cucumber, lettuce, onions and peppers, and top with yogurt sauce.

Sesame Mint Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt, preferably Greek-style
  • 1 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Falafel Sandwiches Video...


See more falafel recipes from the Middle East Cuisine:

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