Our pizza Fridays are always enjoyable. After a long work week (lately they seem very loooonnnngggg) it is nice to get together with the ones you love and have food, drink and conversation. For the last couple of years I have been making pizzas. We decided to take a break from pizzas and move on to other food options. I suggested we try different recipes from other parts of the world. Everyone agreed that would be fun to do. Lily suggested a few weeks ago that I should make Falafel. So, with that in mind we decided for our first “Around the World” Friday to start with the Mideast. This week I made Falafel, Israeli salad, Tzatziki and Basbousa for dessert. I would describe a Falafel as a bean meatball. You make a sandwich with it by placing the Falafel in a pita pocket, topped with Israeli salad and tzatziki sauce. This was quite a flavorful meal. I am adding each of these to my week night menu. So simple and extremely, incredibly delicious!!
1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3-5 cloves garlic (I roasted in a skillet. You don’t have to roast them)
1 1/2 Tablespoon flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Vegetable oil for frying (I used peanut oil)
1. Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight. They will double in size as they soak – you will have between 4 and 5 cups of beans after soaking. (I left out on the counter overnight, uncovered)
2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans well. Pour them into your food processor along with the chopped onion, garlic cloves, parsley, flour, salt, cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom.
3. Pulse all ingredients together until a rough, coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the processor periodically and push the mixture down the sides. Process till the mixture is somewhere between the texture of couscous and a paste. Don’t over mix. It will look grainy. I think this photo gives you an idea of what the consistency will be.
4. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. (I refrigerated mine overnight)
5. I used a 12 inch non stick skillet and a 32 ounce (4 cups) bottle of peanut oil. Heat the oil over medium heat.
6. I measured 2 Tablespoons and formed this into a slider shape (you could make them into a ball too). Place in hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain.
Israeli Salad (This is DELICIOUS!)
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 large red pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup green onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon mint, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (from real lemon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Directions; Mix all together and that’s it!! This is so refreshing. LOVE it!!
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt. You could strain the yogurt. I skipped that step.)
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mint
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1. Grate or dice the cucumbers. (I grated and then chopped) Wrap the diced/grated cucumber in a cheesecloth. Squeeze over the sink and try to get rid of as much liquid as possible. Cucumbers are very watery. ( If you don’t have cheesecloth, use a paper towel or thin dish towel.)
2. Add the cucumbers to the yogurt along with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Mix well and refrigerate 1-2 hours. This is a flavorful condiment for your Falafel. You could use as a salad dressing. You will love this too!
Everyone loved this meal tonight. Martin came over later with his brother Bogy. They loved it. Then I packed one up for Martin II to enjoy after he got out of work. He called me and told me how much he loved it. I know it seems like a lot of steps but it really isn’t. Believe me and give this a try. Simple and Delicious, I promise!!