September 6, 2008


Whether they're of Middle Eastern origin or considered Israel's national snack food, falafels are sure to be one of the mainstays in our list of food favorites. They remain popular with many vegetarians as well. My family has never cooked falafels in the Philippines, but I'm sure my brothers have tried them while they were working in the Middle East. They used to tell me about the different snack foods and flatbreads they like to eat out there. I read that falafels are supposed to be made with dry chickpeas but I've only tried making them with canned chickpeas so far. I just make sure to drain the canned chickpeas very well before coarsely chopping them in the food processor. If using dry chickpeas, it's important to soak them for a good 24 hours before pureeing them. I will try this procedure another time.
For my falafel version, I processed the canned chickpeas separately from the other ingredients, so the texture of the chickpeas will be coarser. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Back to the food processor, I combined 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 small chopped onion, some parsley, fresh oregano, fresh cilantro, 1 tsp. cumin, dash cayenne pepper, salt, 1 tbsp. olive oil and a little lemon juice. Process the ingredients until very fine. Add this mixture to the chickpeas in the bowl. Gradually add some breadcrumbs and carefully stir until the mixture binds together. Form them into small patties and refrigerate to set before frying. In a non-stick skillet, pour a little amount of olive oil, then pan-fry the falafels until well browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. For the dip or dressing, chop up some cucumbers, add some yoghurt and sour cream or light mayo, garlic salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Serve with the falafels.

The recent batch of falafels I made was served with lentil soup
and some salad for a more filling and complete dinnertime meal.

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