BAKED FALAFEL  (3 versions)



BAKED FALAFEL and Tahini-Tzatziki Sauce
After spending a day at DISNEY in ORLANDO and having lunch at the EPCOT Moroccan exhibit my thoughts went to Falafel, a staple of the Mediterranean region, made and served in many of the countries and claimed as original by all.  This might just be the basis for all the fighting in the Near East.   Who really can claim Falafel as being their gift to the world? 

In Israel, as in Arab countries falafel stands are like the Sabrett Hot Dog carts. Falafel in many different recipes is the “national munchie of Israel.” and a lot healthier than McDonalds.  Besides, I don’t think McFalafels would sell…  Falafel is also claimed as a traditional Arab food that has been adopted, modified, incorporated, changed and possibly the recipe may of been altered by the Israeli Jews and others throughout the Mid East…

Food is a common denominator in the world today.  We all eat to survive.  We all are subject to recipes guided by our local and national resources. Most recipes are passed down generation to generation. I could care less who claims what, I came to eat.  Generally as a meal they are served with  hummus and tahini sauce aka known as a “falafel plate.”, the recipe below.  

Tori Avey, winner of several culinary awards and mentions has a great site and a great source of recipes.  I learned a lot from her site and I’ll go further it’s an encyclopedia of great ethnicity, cooking and information.   http://theshiksa.com/2011/01/05/falafel/ 

She mentions “ the idea of stuffing falafel into pita pockets is actually an invention of Yemenite Jewish immigrants to Israel. The introduction of falafel pita sandwiches made falafel portable, which expanded its popularity and made it into the number one “fast food” in Israel.  Now we know the origination of the “Two Falafel to go, Pepsi, Pepsi, no Coke". 

So to be fair here, I included a few variations of the dish and the first is baked for those who are watching fried foods.   Again, there are hundreds of variations to these shown below and again everyone claims they invented Falafel.  Who cares, good food knows no borders. I can see it now WWIII starting over the origin of Falafel. The only thing I am sure of is that the Garbanzo Beans are immortal and taste nutlike.

    BAKED -  FALAFEL

Baked Falafel Ingredients:

1 (15-oz.) can or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained & rinsed (Chickpeas are Garbanzo Beans)
2-3 garlic cloves, quartered
½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. whole wheat bread crumbs
1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
 ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
 2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. baking powder
 ½ tsp. ground coriander
 ½ tsp. onion powder
Generous ½ tsp. sea salt
 ¼ tsp. black pepper


DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425℉.  Lightly drizzle a cookie sheet with olive oil.
Combine the chickpeas, garlic, and parsley in a food processor.  Pulse until well mixed.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and process until the mixture is smooth & uniform.
It should be perfectly moist at this point, but if you find that the mixture is a little dry, add a teaspoon or two of water.
Form the Falafel mixture into golf ball-sized balls.  Flatten the tops with a spatula.
Bake for 12 minutes, flip, and continue baking for 5-8 minutes until both sides are beautifully golden brown.  Serve inside a slightly warmed pita with spinach, cucumber, the hummus of your choice.
Dress With Vegan Tahini-Tzatziki Sauce:  See Below

Tahini
A paste made from ground sesame seeds, the major ingredient used in hummus. Tahini may be purchased in cans, jars, as fresh or dehydrated. Tahini comes in two varieties; hulled and Un-hulled. Un-hulled Tahini is very bitter. In the Middle East Tahini is used in a variety of dishes, and is often mixed with lemon juice, salt and garlic. May be thinned out to make a sauce. It is a main ingredient in soups. You can make your own Tahini by using a blender and mixing white sesame seeds with peanut oil until creamy.


INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE

½ cup plain nondairy yogurt 
2 Tbsp. 
Tahini paste.
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried dill)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice  
1 tsp. white wine or apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. garlic granules/powder
½ tsp. onion granules/powder
¼ tsp. sea salt  
Pinch black pepper
½ small cucumber, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, Chill as the falafel bakes, then drizzle in the pita & on the falafel.  Cover the leftovers & store in the refrigerator.  This sauce also makes a great salad dressing – especially when the salad is topped with falafel or chickpeas!


  FRIED -  Simple Falafel and Cucumber Sauce  

INGREDIENTS: 
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 onion, chopped
1/2-cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-teaspoon ground coriander
1-teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-teaspoon baking powder
1-tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry breadcrumbs 
Oil for frying - Canola, Corn, Peanut 


DIRECTIONS: 
1 - In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; some do some don't use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin. ( A processor is better just don't overdo it) In a blender, process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.
2 - In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add breadcrumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less breadcrumbs, as needed. Form 8 balls and then flatten into patties.
3 - Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides. 

CUCUMBER SAUCE

1 (6 ounce) container plain yogurt 
1/2 cucumber - peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
Salt and pepper to taste
Tablespoon Mayonnaise (Dukes)
Mix well, and chill.


   A FRIEND IN ISRAEL SENT ME THIS SIMPLE VERSION
1  (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1  Medium onion, finely chopped
1  Tablespoon garlic, chopped
2  Tablespoons cup fresh parsley
1  Teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 Teaspoon salt
3/4 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
2  Tablespoons Flour
Oil for frying - Canola, Corn, Peanut 

1  -  Use a food processor to make a thick paste mixture out of the chickpeas, garlic,  onion, coriander, paprika, -salt and pepper to taste.
2  -  Add flour and combine into mixture. Form the mixture into small balls.
3  -  Fry in two inches of oil at 350 until golden brown  (2-5 Minutes) 


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