Friday, September 28, 2007

The Perfect Falafel

I'm so proud of myself! I FINALLY made the perfect Falafel. It's been a hard road, trying to find a good recipe that didn't crumble as it cooked - but at long last I have my perfect recipe. I found the recipe in "Eat This Book" by Tyler Florence, although I adjusted some spices and ingredients. Just as a warning - the chickpeas have to soak overnight so be sure to plan ahead for this one. You could probably make it with canned chickpeas and skip the soaking step, but I wouldn't guarantee it. I've had so many Falafel balls fall apart on me that I'm skeptical of altering the recipe too much (how unlike me!) If you try this recipe, make sure to try the sauce as well - it makes this stuff truly incredible!

Falafel with Tahini Sauce
2 c. dried chickpeas
1 tsp. baking powder
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic smashed
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
about 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
about 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
vegetable oil for frying (about 1 medium sized container)

For the sauce:
1/2 cup Tahini
1/2 cup plain yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
(we ate this stuff up way before we ran out of Falafel, so I recommend doubling this sauce recipe)

Put the dried chickpeas in a large bowl and add cool water to cover by two inches. Soak in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 48. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Put the soaked chickpeas, baking powder, onion, garlic, spices, and herbs in a food processor and pulse to coarsely grind. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate while you heat up the oil (should take about 15 minutes).
Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep heavy pot or deep fryer to 375 degrees. It's very important that the oil is deep enough that the balls don't stick to the bottom and that the oil is hot enough. Roll the falafel mixture into balls about the size of ping-pong balls. Carefully slip into the oil a few at a time, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until they are crusty dark brown - about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
To make the sauce, whisk together all the ingredients.
To serve, stuff pita with Falafel, tomatoes, cucumber and Tahini sauce. Or you could just do what Dan and I did and eat them standing at the counter as they come out of the oil.

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