Sunday, September 22, 2013

falafel for the first day of autumn

I am late to learn that the best falafel comes from not cooking the beans. Soaking them is all you need to do. Once the falafel are cooked, they are crispy on the outside, cooked through and creamy on the inside. The difference in this method and using canned beans is pretty amazing. I have made falafel a few times with canned beans and it is hardly worth the effort. Soaking is easy: put the beans in a bowl, cover with water, several inches above the beans because they will swell, and leave overnight.
Both warm and cool, full of earthy spices, and a tangy lemon tahini dressing, this meal is perfect for the beginning of Autumn. I fried mine, and cooked at the proper medium high heat, they were not greasy, at all. But you could also bake them, if you prefer.

3 1/2 cups soaked beans (I didn't measure when I poured the dried beans into the water, guessing 2 cups dried)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3-4 cloves of garlic
3 TB flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
11/2-2 tsp salt
black pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
pinch of cayenne, optional

neutral vegetable oil, like safflower, for frying

In a food processor, pulse the garlic to chop it up, then add everything else and process until everything is pretty broken down. It will look like this:

After refrigerating for at least an hour, scoop out a couple of tablespoons of the mixture and pat together to form a slightly pressed discs. Carefully place them into a pan of heated oil and cook until golden, turn over and cook the other side.
Heat your pita (I would have preferred one large pita, but small were all I had) and top with whatever you like.

our toppings:
pickled onions
shredded ice burg lettuce
chopped tomatoes
tahini sauce

pickled onions:
one onion
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 TB sugar
Let everything marinate for a few hours.

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