This past week has been warm, humid and very rainy. While it's great for the plants and the garden...I was missing the sun. Luckily for us, we are in for a beautiful weekend, warm and sunny. Today, we spent the better part of our day outside in the garden, harvesting, tending and staking plants. I asked Kishore what we were going to do for dinner, after some thought we decided... Spicy Falafel it is! When we've had a long day, don't really want to spend too much time cooking, one of our favorite quick light dinner meals is Falafel. The nice thing about falafel is that it's a great throw together meal. I always have some canned chickpeas available in my cabinet; along with cilantro, parsley, and mint in the fridge or garden depending on the time of year.
The first time we had Falafel was at this lovely Lebanese restaurant that was literally in the lower level of the owner, Maria's, home. When you came in she, and her mother or daughter would be sitting at one of the tables chopping herbs, or rolling stuffed grape leaves; she'd ask you what you were in the mood for meat or vegetable. On this day there was this lovely herbal smell drifting from the kitchen and I said, "Whatever you are cooking now, that's what I want to try." Out she came, 10 minutes later, with steaming hot falafel stuffed into a warm homemade whole wheat pita with cucumbers and tomatoes with tahini sauce...it was delicious! I had to ask Maria her secret in making these, she kindly said, "Always use fresh herbs, the fresher the better. Grow it if you can, that's the secret to good falafel." Well, I happen to agree with her and take her advice to heart about any dish involving herbs; So once we had made our dinner decision... Out I went to cut some fresh garden herbs for this Fabulously Spicy Falafel!
Here is my recipe based on Maria's, Fabulously Spicy Falafel:
Makes 8 Falafel
16 oz. Chickpeas
1 Medium Yellow Onion
3 Minced Garlic Cloves
1 Bunch of Mint
1 Bunch of Cilantro
1 Bunch of Flat Parsley
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Salt
2 TBLSP Chickpea Flour
For the Tahini Sauce:
1 TBLSP Tahini Paste
1/2 tsp Honey*
1 tsp of minced Garlic
1/2 cup Lemon juice
A pinch of Salt and Pepper
For Stuffed Pita: Pita Bread, Sliced Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Sesame Seeds
Vegan- Agave Syrup
For the Falafel:
Prep Work: If using Dry Chickpeas soak them overnight in water, this isn't necessary if they are canned.
1. Place the Mint, Cilantro, Parsley, Onion, Garlic, Chili Powder, Cumin, Coriander, Salt and Pepper in a food processor and pulse into a paste.
2. Next, put the Chickpeas in the food processor and pulse until the chickpeas resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
3. Mix the Chickpea mixture with the Chickpea flour, and shape into 8 balls.
4. Heat some oil in a pan to low medium heat.
5. Place Chickpea balls into the hot oil carefully and allow to cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown, then turn and allow another 5 minutes or until that side is golden brown.
6. Once both sides have browned, take them out and drain on paper towels.
For the Tahini Sauce:
Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor and blend. Sauce will be a pale yellow color when ready.
Putting the Pita Together:
Cut a pita in half and spoon some tahini sauce inside; then add some shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers. Finally crush the warm falafel flat then put it in the pita. Serve with extra tahini sauce on the side.
I have entered this recipe in June's The Spice Trail hosted by Bangers and Mash.