Middle Eastern cuisine is my drug. There is something about it that appeals to me and makes me addicted. I guess it has a lot to do with it being healthy, humble, yet extremely refined, fragrantly spicy, exhaliratingly exotic and rich in traditions as well as history, thus reminding me of great as well as intriguing ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Persia, etc...). It carries a kind of romantic aura that plunges me directly into mythic worlds...
But where does this magnetic attraction come from? In another life I was maybe a Summerian lady, a Babylonian warrior, a Greek amazon or a cook in the Ottoman palace's kitchens, though I also believe I could have been a Sioux or a Viking princess before I got reborn as Rosa, the "mad" foodblogger that you all know. Who knows? I can only say that an unknown bond keeps me attached to the delightful savors of that area of the globe.
I am very passionate about Greek, Turkish, Moroccan and Lebanese cooking. I cannot get enough of chickpeas, Basmati rice, pine nuts, coriander, tahini, bulgur, cumin, flatbreads (Pita, Khoubz & Lavash), olive oil, sesame seeds, honey, yogurt, phyllo, feta, etc... Those are ingredients that I would never like to live without. It is impossible for me to take them out of my diet.
Well, to make this story short, the other week my friend Corinne and I were in town and we decided to eat a little something. Corinne being married to a Palestinian man, she is also very much besotted by Middle Eastern dishes, so we decided to buy a falafel sandwich from "Parfums De Beyrouth", a take away in the red light district area of Geneva called Les Pâquis. While eating that delicious snack I told Corinne how much I love "Falafels" and I started wondering why I had never made any. After leaving the place, I promised myself to make some as soon as possible. A week later, homemade "Falafels" graced my table...
"Falafels" are little deep fried croquettes in the shape of a ball which are thought to originate from Egypt - though some people believe that they come from India - (They were eaten for Lent by the Copts. The recipe migrated further East and chickpeas replaced the fava beans.). They are a common mezze, snack and street food item all accross the Middle East. "Felafels" can be eaten topped with salad, vegetable pickles, hot sauce and a tahini-based sauce or served in a pita or wrapped in a flatbread. They are generally made with mashed chickpeas (although certain versions contain no chickpeas - Egyptian falafels are made with fava beans instead, thus their green color), bulgur wheat (not in all recipes), spices and herbs such as coriander and parsley.
To make my "Falafels" I inspired myself from many sources around the net and from my books in order to create the recipe that follows. They turned well and were close to perfect. Of course, it is my first attempt at making them, so I'm sure I can still develop and adapt that recipe a little in the future. I'll definitely try other versions soon in order to find the most perfect flavor combination and texture.
Those "Falafels" look perfect and taste wonderful. They are not greasy at all, very flavorful, delicately spicy (the spices reveal themselves to you slowly), gorgeously crisp on the outside and pillow-soft on the inside. A soul-uplifting delicacy that'll make you travel without leaving the house!
~ Falafels ~
Recipe by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.
Makes about 24 falafels.
1 Cup Dried chickpeas
1/2 Cup Bulgur
1 Big white onion, chopped
3 Cloves garlic
2-3 Tbs Fresh chopped parlsey
2 Tbs Fresh chopped cilantro/coriander
1 Big egg (~63g)
2 Tsp Ground cumin
1/4 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tsp Kirmizi biber
1 1/2 Tsp Sea salt
1 Tsp Dried oregano
1/2 Tsp Baking powder (optional)
A pinch freshly ground black pepper
A few drops red Tabasco
2 Tbs Tahini
2 Tbs Bread crumbs (or more/optional)
Peanut oil, to deep fry
1. The day before, place the chickpeas in a bowl and cover them with water. Leave overnight.
2. The next day, put the bulgur in a bowl and cover with water. Let the bulgur stand in the water for about 15 minutes, then drain very well.
3. Place the chickpeas, onion, cloves, parsley, cilantro, egg, baking powder, tahini and spices in a blender and process until still a little grainy.
4. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and add the bulgur as well as breadcrumbs (you should be able to create balls/if not add breadcrumbs).
5. Cover the bowl and let rest for about 2 hours in the fridge.
6. Fill a pan with 6cm (3 inches) oil and heat. The oil should be about 190°C (375° F).
7. Deep-fry the falafels (5 at a time) until golden brown.
8. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.
The mixture should be blended, but not pureed.
Add a little more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet and you cannot make balls with it.
Serve the falafels with "Tarator Sauce" and a good salad or make sandwiches with halved pita breads stuffed with tomato slices, salad (chopped iceberg), onions slices and "Tarator Sauce".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Falafels ~
Recette par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.
Pour environ 24 falafels.
1 Tasse (250g) de Pois chiches secs
1/2 Tasse de Bulghur
1 Gros onion blanc, haché
3 Gousses d'ail
2-3 CS de Persil haché
2 CS de Coriandre haché
1 Gros oeuf (~63g)
2 CC de Cumin en poudre
1/4 de CC de Coriandre en poudre
1 CC de Paprika
1 CC de Kirmizi biber
1 1/2 CC de Tsp Sel de mer
1 CC d'Origan séché
1/2 CC de Poudre à lever (en option)
Une pincée de povre noir fraîchement moulu
Quelques gouttes de Tabasco rouge
2 CS de Tahini
2 CS de Panure (et plus si la préparation est trop mouillée/en option)
Huile d'arachide, pour frire
1. Faire tremper les pois chiches toute une nuit afin qu'ils se réhydratent.
2. Le lendemain, faire tremper le bulghur dans de l'eau afin de le réhydrater. Laisser le bulghur dans l'eau pendant au moins 15 minutes. Bien égoutter.
3. Mettre les pois chiches, l'onion, l'ail, le persil, la coriandre, l'oeuf, la poudre à lever, le tahini et les épices dans un mixer et réduire en une masse assez homogène, mais granuleuse.
4. Mettre cette mixture dans un bol et ajouter le bulghur et la panure (vous devriez pouvoir former des boules avec la préparation/si non, ajouter de la panure).
5. Couvrir le bol et laisser reposer au frigo pendant 2 heures.
6. Remplir une casserole avec 6cm d'huile et chauffer. L'huile doit atteindre les 190°C.
7. Frire 5 falafels à la fois (pendant 5 minutes), jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient bien dorés.
8. Retirer les falafels de la casserole et faire égoutter sur du papier de cuisine. Servir chaud.
La préparation ne devrait pas être réduite en purée.
Ajouter un peu de panure si la mixture est trop mouillée et que vous n'arriver pas à former des petites boules.
Idées de présentation:
Servir les falafels avec de la "Sauce Tarator" et avec de la salade, des légumes au vinaigre ou bien en tant que sandwich dans du pain pita et avec des tomates en tranches, de la salade (iceberg), des rondelles d'oignons et de la "Sauce Tarator".