Monday, June 1, 2009

Recipes to Rival: Chickpea Fries and Falafel

I chose the recipe for this months Recipes to Rival. It's such fun to be able to choose the recipe. So much to pick from and of course you want to pick something that you have been meaning to try but haven't. So that is exactly what I did. I have made falafel before but it always fell apart on me. Now I know the secret for patties that don't fall apart. The fries I have been meaning to try for a while but just never got around to it.
Homemade pita with tahini and falafel. OMG!

Beans have such benefits. They help reduce cholesterol, cost relatively little, offer more fiber in your diet and are environmentally friendly. By that I mean, people don't realize that there is quite a cost in eating beef for instance. They are pretty heavy animals that have to be cargoed around to graze or be moved before and after slaughter. So for this reason it is quite expensive and detrimental to the environment. Now, before all you beef lovers get up in arms, I want to say that beef is great. I could write a whole post on it's virtues too. I just want to suggest that we have a meal once in a while, if not weekly, consisting of beans.

Stop by Recipes to Rival Blogroll for other R 2 R's to see what they cooked up.
Little hands reaching for some fries... yeah.

Mark Bittman, How To Cook Everything; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

neutral oil, like grapeseed, corn, for greasing and frying
1 cup chickpea flour, sifted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Finely grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Grease a baking sheet or pizza pan with a rim and set aside. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Gradually add the chickpea flour with a large pinch of salt and pepper, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce to a gentle bubble, stir int he olive oil and cook for just a minute.

2. Scoop the chickpea mixture onto the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Let cool for a few minutes and then cover loosely with parchment or plastic. Refrigerate until chilled through, about 30 minutes (but up to a day, covered tightly, after it's completely cool).

3. Put 1/8 to 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, cut the chickpea flour mixture into 3 x 1/2- cutter). Gently put batches of the fries into the hot oil, rotating them gently for even cooking and browning on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Drain the fries on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt, lots of pepper and a good dusting of Parmesan if you like. Serve hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

These ones are fried.

These are baked. Both were good but tasted quite a bit different.

Falafel: Chickpea Patties

Recipe by Madelain Farah, Lebanese Cuisine, Four Walls Eight Windows, 2001

* 1 pound dried chickpeas
* 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
* Salt and pepper, as needed
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil


* 6 to 8 pitas, tops sliced open and lightly toasted
* Shredded lettuce, as needed
* Tomato wedges, as needed
* Sliced red onion, as needed
* Sliced cucumbers, as needed
* Tahini Sauce, recipe follows


Make the Falafel: Soak the chickpeas in cold water in the refrigerator overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and place them with the onion in the bowl of a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the oil. Mix well. Process the mixture a second time. Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls and deep-fry or pan-fry in hot oil.

Make the Sandwiches: Stuff the pitas with lettuce and nestle the falafel patties inside. Top with the rest of the ingredients and drizzle with the tahini sauce. Serve immediately.

Tahini Sauce:

1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
2 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Mash the garlic and salt together. Add the tahini, mixing well. The sauce will thicken. Gradually add the water, blending thoroughly. Then add the lemon juice. Blend well.

Note: This can be a thin or thick sauce, depending upon the use and preference. Simply adjust with lemon juice and water. This can be used with vegetables or in combination with other recipes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


Pita Bread
Adapted from Bernard Clayton's Pita Recipe

Makes 8

2-1/2 cups bread flour or all purpose will work
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup warm water (105-110 degrees)

8 8-inch squares of aluminum foil for baking pitas

In a large bowl (I used my wooden dough bowl), combine 1 cup flour with the salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the oil and water. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for three minutes, then stir in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should be a rough, shaggy mass that will clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough is moist, add a small amount of additional flour.

Gather and put on the counter. Cut into eight equal portions. Cover, I use the bowl to cover them. Let them rest 30 minutes. In the mean time preheat the oven to 500F. Then roll them out one at a time onto the foil sheets. Place in the bottom rack of the oven. I can get four in at a time. Let them bake for 8 to 12 minutes. They should puff. I find that if I let them rest after I roll them then they tend to puff better.

When you take them out of the oven, immediately put them in a paper bag to let the moisture keep them nice and soft.
Caramelized Onion Dip

3 large onions, s;iced or chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet sauté onion in butter and oil until soft. Add some salt continue sautéing until the onions are caramelized. Remove from heat, cool and process in a blender or processor. Add sour cream, balsamic and s and p to taste. Chill.


Mary Bergfeld said...

It all looks wonderful, Lori. It was a great challenge.

kat said...

Yours all look so good & look at that falafel! Next time I'll have to find the dried chickpeas

Lucy..♥ said...

Boy does this look good!!! Love it!

natalia said...

Ciao Lori ! Great chickpeas !!! And photos !

Madam Chow said...

Everything looks awesome! I loved the fries - post will be up later today, but they don't look as good as yours!

Unknown said...

Looks great! I enjoyed this challenge.

Donna-FFW said...

Lori- Your chickpea creation looks amazing I bet it was just delicious!

Kavs said...

Another amazing R2R challenge! The fries look oh-so good... I'm curious, any way we can sub the chickpea flour with canned or dried chickpeas?

grace said...

what a neat use for chickpea flour--those fries look great. and i love love love falafel; yours looks amazing. round of applause coming at ya. :)

Lori said...

Thank you all for your comments!

Kavs- The texture would be completely different- more like the falafel. Do you have basan?

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I like both of them. I wish those little hands were mine in fact...but maybe I should just behave like a grown-up and go make my

The caramelized onion dip is very interesting too. :)

Temperance said...

Great Challenge and your results look wonderful too!

Alexandra Stafford said...

this recipe is bookmarked! I have been meaning to try to make falafel for, well, years. This is so exciting!


maybelle's mom said...

Great challenge. I will definitely come back and do it. And, I agree about the beans. Small change can have a big effect. (PS thanks for your support while I was away.)

Shelby said...

I would love to smack my lips on some of this! The falafal is one of my favorite foods!

Jude said...

Nice pick! I always have some kind of legume on hand, especially black chickpeas. They're a bit smaller than regular chickpeas and are supposedly packed with more nutrition.

Miss M. Possible said...

Wow this looks so good! Do you have a recipe for the pita? I can't find it on your recipe list. :(

Lori said...

Hotcake- Thank you for pointing that out to me. I thought it was on here. I updated my post and put the recipe here.

Miss M. Possible said...

It's no problem. I tried your falafel recipe today and though I did adjust the seasonings to taste, it was a great starter recipe. I've made bad falafel twice so I was very excited about this!

I'll be saving that pita recipe to use soon, too.

Lori said...

Hotcake- I am glad it worked out for you. I used the original recipe but I did add more sale and I added garlic powder. I am glad I did. THe next time I make it I will probably add some Middle Eastern spices and a lot more onion. I have a thing for oniony falafel.