Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Falafel With Lemon-Tahini Sauce


This isn't just any old falafel recipe. I think it is the best falafel recipe. 

Falafel...a Middle Eastern staple. When made correctly, they are flavor packed veggie "meatballs" with a crispy exterior and moist interior that hints at its foundation of pureed chick peas. These guys pack an impressive punch of flavor coming from generous doses of garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander and turmeric. And wheat germ provides a great texture. Place them in warm pita with a drizzle of tangy, spicy lemon-tahini sauce and you have an exotic main course.  

{Confession - I passed over this recipe so many times with an eye roll based on the length of the ingredient list UNTIL I took the time to notice everything just gets tossed in a food processor.  Aha.  Easy!} 

Falafel With Lemon-Tahini Sauce

one 15 oz can of chick peas, rinsed and thoroughly drained
1/2 t baking soda
2 T minced garlic
6 T minced Italian parsley
1 T + 1 t kosher salt
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground cayenne pepper
1 t freshly ground black pepper
6 T whole wheat flour 
1/2 c wheat germ plus more as needed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
dash of ground turmeric
1/2 c low fat Greek yogurt
peanut oil
- and for the lemon - tahini sauce
1/3 c tahini
1/2 c boiling water
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 t harissa {*}
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
3/4 t kosher salt
- to finish
4 whole pitas
mixed greens
12 cherry tomatoes, halved


Process the chick peas in a food processor.  Add the remaining falafel ingredients except  the peanut oil and pulse a few times to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. 

To make the sauce, whisk all the lemon - tahini sauce ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl.  Taste and adjust lemon juice and harissa if you'd like.  Set aside.

Measure out falafel in 2 T increments and shape into balls,  Flatten the edges slightly so that they are about 2" in diameter and 3/4" thick. {The mixture should be very moist but workable - not completely sticking to your hands. If too sticky, add more wheat germ, 1 T at a time. I added an extra 4 T}.

Add enough oil to coat the bottom of a deep pot. Heat to halfway between medium and medium-high and saute falafel until deep brown on the outside but still moist inside, about 2 minutes per side. Remove with a spatula and place on paper towels. Add more oil if necessary in between batches. Place in warm pita with greens and tomatoes and serve with the lemon - tahini sauce.

Makes 24 falafel, serves 6.

{*} Harissa is a spicy Northern African paste. If you have ground harissa, you can make your own harissa paste by adding a little fresh minced garlic and olive oil.

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Source:  Adapted from Dinner At The Authentic Cafe

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