Falafel

… and yes, you can make falafel at home. Coming from Montreal, we tried our first falafel in Lebanese restaurants and they were so exotic at the time. What a great discovery this was and foreign they seemed to us. The beauty of falafels is you can serve them in combination with so many other dishes. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze. Generally accepted to have first been made in Egypt, falafel has become a dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The Copts of Egypt claim to have first made the dish as a replacement for meat during lent. The first time we went to Egypt was in Sharm El Sheikh, the beautiful Red Sea Coast line of Egypt, we tried our first course of meze and ate all of them. Like everyone around the table, we could not eat one more bite when the main course arrived. Typical ! They served the meze with beautiful pita-like breads called Aish Baladi, made with wholewheat flour. Who needs a main course when you have this as a starter. We also experienced silky-smooth-creamy-buttery Humus which was so light with an after taste of toasted sesame seeds, delightful.
Falafels are the pride and joy of many Middle Eastern countries and many fight to the title to the best. Needless to say, recipes vary from country to country and some are more complicated than others. This version only uses chickpeas and a combination of fresh herbs and spices. Easy to make they bring you a piece of the Middle East without spending days in the kitchen. I usually freeze them uncooked and fry them at the last minute. This is a perfect starter for a Middle East dinner.

INGREDIENTS
225 Gr. Dried Chickpeas – Equivalent of 1 cup
85 Gr. Scallions, trimmed – 5 scallions
2 Medium Garlic cloves
2 Cups Packed fresh cilantro, parsley and mint – I use a mixture of all three – About a cup of Cilantro, a cup of Parsley and half cup of Mint.
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/2 Teaspoon Chilli Flakes
3/4 Teaspoon baking powder
Ground Pepper to taste
2 Cups of Vegetable oil for frying.

INSTRUCTIONS

The day before making the falafel, soak the chickpeas in cold water and let them rest all night.
The following day, drain the chickpeas and dry them up with a tea towel. Simply place the chick peas in a bowl of a robot and chop them roughly. Add all other ingredients and mix, until you have a homogenous mixture.
You can use a special instrument to shape the falafels as shown above, or a simple ice cream spoon will also do the trick. The idea is to have consistent sizes so you can cook them at the same time.
Bring the oil to a frying temperature 180 Celsius and fry the falafels 4 at a time.
The recipe should yield about 18 pieces, about 6 servings. If you are not going to eat them right away, simply shape them and freeze them on a tray. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezing bag and pull out as needed.
Fry them already frozen in a medium hot oil for a few minutes on each side.
Serve with some Tahini and sprinkle fresh mint, coriander and parsley.

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