Recently, several of my peers highlighted an old favorite legume, the chickpea—or garbanzo bean. Dorine highlighted the raw chickpea in this article, Fresh Chickpeas. Shortly thereafter, Richard Frisbie wrote about techniques for cooking our little bean here, Foodbites. Sonia Martinez followed up with a rousing article about cooking from scratch, Cooking from scratch is easy to do… , wherein kitchenMage hawked her new book, Cooking with Your Kids. Finally Katrina Hall made the mixture for dinner here, Fast Food.
What a great bunch of folks, eh? So having been duly motivated by the thoughts and words of these folks, I immediately purchased some garbanzo beans like Dorine did, followed Richard’s advice, made falafel from scratch after Sonia’s plea and Katrina’s shortcut—and now I’m hawking my creation in the style of kitchenMage. Gotta love these folks! (Kevin even made dessert here, Blackberry Ice Cream)
Here are my homemade, from scratch, highly seasoned, non-traditional Middle Eastern felafels. Mine are served open faced on a half moon of homemade pita bread instead of the traditional style of serving inside the pocket. They are served with a squirt of chili sauce, shredded lettuce, cucumber-yogurt sauce with a hint of lime and a dollop of homemade hummus. I forego the tahini to save calories. As if!
The recipe is simple. Madame Donna’s Middle Eastern Felafels:
Assemble the following in a food processor or blender or mash with a fork until it combines:
2 cups cooked chickpeas, use while warm
1/2 cup white onion, finely minced
2 tbsp fresh parsley or basil or cilantro, finely minced
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic or more, minced
2 tsp garam Masala (store-bought isn’t the same so make
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp flour, optional depending on how moist your beans are after mashing.
Refrigerate for at least one hour, covered.
While the mixture chills, make your cucumber-yogurt sauce by combining:
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ seeded, peeled, minced cucumber
½ of a large lime or 2 tablespoons lime juice
pinch of kosher salt, more to taste if necessary
1 finely minced garlic clove, optional
Chill to allow flavors to meld until ready to serve.
Make either patties or small balls out of the falafel mixture. They should be about 2-3 tablespoons of mixture for either. This is the perfect time to engage your children in the kitchen. They can roll the balls or flatten the patties and believe me, they love to get their hands dirty!
Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add a neutral oil to a depth of about 1 inch. Heat until a pinch of water sizzles and evaporates almost immediately.
Slowly and carefully, add your felafel balls or patties to the oil. Brown until dark golden brown on one side. Turn. Brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels.
Serve hot with warmed pita bread, sauces, condiments, chopped fresh tomatoes and smiles.