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Accidental Falafel

Today I made the most delicious and fluffiest falafel and it happened by accident. But as often the case, I’m jumping ahead, let me explain.

Making falafel is very simple but at the same time takes some forethought in that one needs to remember to soak the beans ahead of time. This said, last evening I had planned on soaking chickpeas overnight and when I went to retrieve them from the shelf there were hardly any there, so I substituted dried fava beans for the amount lacking in chickpeas. There are plenty of recipes calling for fava beans in falafel but I had never made them. And while one is able to eat the skins of the fava beans I wanted a smoother texture so I peeled them, which does take a little while.

Then as I was spinning the mixture in a food processor it seemed a bit dry so I added a small amount of cold water. This did the trick; the mix pureed nicely but then it was too loose. Not wanting the firmness of adding wheat flour—which I sometimes do—I added chickpea flour. The mix was still loose because chickpea flour does not thicken until heated (it doesn’t absorb in the same way wheat flour does), but once the falafel began cooking not only did they firm up but fluffed up as well.

They were so delicious I was eating them while frying as they came out of the skillet; I had to restrain myself lest I be full before preparing my entire meal. I ate them on a loaded salad with rich and delicious yogurt-tahini sauce. These are simple to prepare, nutritious, and super delicious. Good things sometimes do come from accidents.

Falafel with Favas 
Makes about 2 dozen small patties

½ cup dried chickpeas
½ cup dried fava beans
3 cups water

½ small onion, diced
½ bunch Italian parsley, washed and chopped
½ bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Lebanese seven-spice mix
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons cold water
4 tablespoons chickpea flour

   vegetable oil for pan-frying

Combine the chickpeas and water together in a bowl overnight and leave them at room-temperature to reconstitute.

Drain the chickpeas, discarding the water. Peel the favas and discard their skins

Transfer all of the ingredients, except the oil, to a food processor (in batches if necessary) and process until a mealy consistency. Cover and refrigerate for about ½ hour.

Shape into patties, preheat about a half-inch of oil in a skillet, and pan-fry (in batches) on both sides until golden and cooked through. Transfer to absorbent paper.

Lebanese Seven-Spice Mix
Makes about ¼ cup

1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix the spices together and store in an airtight container, or use as needed.

Taratoor  Sauce with Yogurt
Makes about 1 ½ cups.

1 cup plain plain yogurt
4 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup cold water
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. If too thick adjust with water.


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