I don't normally celebrate XXX International Days, unless XXX = ice cream. But given that I've been eating falafels like it was my job these past two weeks, I thought, why not? So here is a recipe for tomorrow, aka Falafel International Day.
If you've been wondering why recipes are rather scarce here lately, it is because the combination of exams and weather simply doesn't permit for a healthy diet around here (yes, yes, I'm also looking for excuses to stuff myself with veg sushi and ice cream I seriously have a problem with the latter). During the day, it's never below 30 degrees, there is no wind, the air is thick and bodies are sticky and bleeh eating normal food is just not an option. Then we go out for a beer or some wine and stroll the streets and suddenly its 1AM, the heat is gone with the sun, and the alcohol makes for rumbling stomachs. The only things to eat at this time of night are McDonald offerings, trucks selling panini of doubtful hygenic standards, and falafel/kebab wraps, so - that should explain my latest increase in their consumption.
I can already hear my mom going all those are not really falafels!!! because I advocate the use of canned, cooked chickpeas. My mom insists on using them uncooked, just soaked, and is more uncompromising on this topic than all the Egyptian and Libanese cooks I've ever met in kitchens - combined. None of the machinery in my kitchen would manage uncooked legumes and I believe that majority of you are in the same position. Then, I suggest baking rather than frying, but that should shock no one - who wants to stand next to a pan of smoking hot oil for 15 minutes ever, let alone in June? Lastly, I wanted to taste the falafels, tabbouleh, and not much else - and eat a lot of them, because they were yummy. So I went for large salad leaves in lieu of stuffing pita breads.
You can make them today and assemble tomorrow, because they are just as good cold as they are hot. Or you could have them both days. Or eat everything at once! Enjoy!
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, very finely sliced
1 cup strawberries, small cube
1 large, ripe tomato, small cube
1/2 cucumber, small cube
1/4 red pepper, smalll cube
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp good olive oil
pinch of sugar, pepper, cumin, cinnamon
1/2 tsp sumac
salt to taste
optionally, stir in 1/2 cup cooked couscous or millet, to make a more filling meal
It's best to start by making the tabbouleh, so it can sit in the fridge for a while and the flavors can infuse well, the parsley soften, etc.
Combine the herbs and chopped vegetables in a large bowl.
Add lemon juice, olive oil, and all spices, to a jar, and shake until uniform. You can add some more olive oil if you like, or more of the spices - it's very personal, so taste as you go.
Add the dressing to the bowl and mix everything well, using your hands to break down the vegetables a little.
Place in the fridge, covered. The salad will keep for 3 days.
1 can of chickpeas (240g)
1/4 cup cooked millet
1/4 cup parsley, leaves picked
1/4 cup mint, leaves picked
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sesame seeds
salt - I'd say at least 1/2 tsp
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
for tahini dressing:
1 tbsp soy yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp water - or more if too thick
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt, pepper, dried mint
large salad leaves, collard greens are best but I used large radicchio
cucumber or tomato slices
Preheat your oven to 200*C.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas, let dry. Add to your food processor with the millet, pulse until uniform but not a paste. Tip into a medium bowl.
Without cleaning, add the herbs and olive oil, blitz until sort of liquid/pesto-like, and add to the chickpeas along with the rest of the ingredients.
Line a baking tray with parchment. Wet your palms and scoop out about 1 tbsp of the chickpea mess, form into a ball, then flat out with your hands and place on the tray. Repeat until all batter is used - I ended up with 8 falafels.
Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5-10. Take out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then assemble: place a leaf on a plate, break 1-2 falafels into bite-sized chunks, cover with tahini dressing and tabbouleh, add whatever else you like in your falafels, and eat.
Of course this is horribly messy, but also very fun to eat! And I don't think you can manage eating this any other way than simply with your hands.
Happy Falafel Day!