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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Homemade Falafel Sandwich with Homemade Pita bread



Falafel is a deep fried ball or patty made from ground Chick peas or Fava beans or both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, commonly served in a Pita bread, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flat bread known as Lafa "falafel" also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetable and hot sauce, and drizzled with Tahini based sauce. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a assortment of appetizers.
Falafel is a common dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The Fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat  and as a form of  street food.
In North America, prior to the 1970s, falafel was found only in Middle Eastern and Jewish neighborhoods and restaurants. Today, the dish is a common and popular street food in many cities throughout North America.
Falafel has become popular among Vegetarians and Vegans, as an alternative to meat-laden street foods, and is now sold in packaged mixes in health-food stores. 
I used to buy the ready made package falafel mix to make the falafel balls. Then,  I tried making these balls with soaked Moong beans, and soaked black eyed peas, but they tasted different.  Then I thought,  let me try making it from scratch from chickpeas and chickpeas flour available at  Indian grocer.  I did not use Fava beans, but I guess you can soak the fava beans and chickpeas together and follow the same recipe. Just use the dried beans and not from the can.
Ingredients:  For Falafel balls



  •  2 cup dried  Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans, NOT Canned)



  • Water to soak Chickpeas overnight



  • 1 onion



  • 1 small bunch of Cilantro



  • 1/4 cup chopped Parsley



  • 5-6 cloves garlic



  • 1/2 cup coarse chick peas flour (from local Indian grocer, or you may use regular wheat flour)






  • 1/2  cup of rice flour



  • 2 tsp salt or to taste



  • 2 tsp cumin powder



  • 1 tsp ground coriander



  • 2 Serrano peppers



  • 1/2  tsp black pepper



  • 1/2  tsp cayenne pepper



  • 1/2 tsp dry hot pepper flakes



  • 1 teaspoon oregano



  • 2  tbl  spoon roasted sesame seeds




  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda



  • Vegetable oil for frying 



  • Home made sourdough pita bread (recipe on this blog) You can buy regular fresh ready made pocket pita bread from local Middle eastern grocer)



  • Method to make batter for Falafel balls:
    • Wash and soak chickpeas over night for 8 hours.
    • Drain all the water out and  grind them to a paste in the food processor along with garlic, onions, parsley, cilantro and onion.
    • Paste should be slightly coarse and not completely creamy.
    •  Mix chickpeas flour and sesame seeds with some water and add this to chick peas paste.
    • Add all the spices, baking soda and salt.
    • Add rice flour.
    •  Mix well until everything is well incorporated.
    • Consistency of paste should be so you can make patties with hands.
    • Set the paste aside for about 30 min while you prepare the topping and tahini sauce if don't have it ready.












     Ingredients for Toppings:
    • One red onion finely chopped
    • 3-4  ripe tomatoes diced
    • Romain lettuce finely chopped
    • 3-4 spring onion finely diced
    • 1 green pepper or can use red pepper finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • Juice from 1 lime
    • Few pieces Pickled turnips from Middle-eastern grocers (you can cut them in to desired size cubes)
    • 1 small English Cucumber cubed
    • Drizzle of Balsalmic vinaigrette
    • Tahini sauce (for recipe see below)
    • Sriracha sauce or garlic chili sauce to add desired heat to your sandwich.

    • Mix lettuce, red onions, cilantro, cucumber, green and red pepper if using it.
    • Drizzled some  vinaigrette, lime juic toss and set aside.
    • Keep the diced tomatoes and pickled turnip separately.
    • You can refrigerate these until ready to make falafel sandwiches.








    Recipe for Tahini Sauce
    Tahini sauce is made from “Tahini” - a sesame seed paste available in Middle Eastern Stores.

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup Tahini (available in Mediterranean stores) (you can make it at home by roasting sesame seeds in oven at 325 F for 15 minutes, stirring regularly to toast evenly. Once cool, blend them in commercial power blender with olive oil to paste form, but much easier to buy from store)

    • 1 cup Hummus
    • ½ cup Sour cream
    • ½ cup  plain yogurt
    • 2-3 cloves garlic
    • 1 teaspoon Cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
    • ½ -1 Jalapeno pepper (if want spicy can put more)
    • 2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ cup Lime juice
    • Paprika powder to sprinkle on top for garnish

     

    Method:
    In a food processor combine all ingredients together except olive oil and make a thin paste.
    Remove from food processor and add olive oil and sprinkle Paprika for garnish

      Method to fry Falafel patties:
      • I use electric fryer, and set the temp at 375 degrees.
      • When oil is hot, make falafel patties with paste on wet palm of your hand and carefully drop each patty in to hot oil (be careful !)
      • Fry the patties until golden brown.
      • When done take them out of fryer and set them on the paper towel to drain the excess oil.
      • Below, I have included some pictures from my recipe from sour dough pita bread that I had made on the same day. However you can use ready made pocket pita.
      • If you use thin large pita bread, instead of making pocket pita sandwich, you can make the sandwich roll.







































      Method to prepare Falafel Sandwich:
      • You can either cut the pocket pita in to two equal halves or just cut the top of as shown above.
      • Open the pocket and add some lettuce bed first.
      • Followed by 2-3  falafel balls dipped in tahini sauce then add some more tahini sauce and hot sauce if desired. 
      • Top with lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomatoes and pickled turnip.
      • Sanwich is ready for serving.
      • Enjoy !!


      Falafel info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falafel
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License

      Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.


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