Falafel

Falafel is one of the most widely eaten and recognized foods of the Middle East. Falafel is made of fried balls or patties of chickpeas with spices. Chickpeas are high in protein and one of the first grown vegetables which has been growing for over 20,000 years in the Middle East but is now considered as a bean. There are actually two forms of chick peas. The Desi type has a darker color and are usually smaller. The Kabuli type is more familiar to the American person with a lighter color and a softer coat. Of the two, the Desi is considered a better dietary choice, but is harder to find in the US. Falafel is found all over the Middle East, but it is more common in countries like Israel, Egypt and Syria. It is known as a "fast food" and sold like hot dogs on street corners. Falafel is also the national dish of Israel. Palestinians are starting to complain that falafel was stolen from them but the Israelis pointed out that the ingredients and the recipe are documented in the bible as foods of the Hebrews. They also point out the fact that falafel's quality and popularity has improved the incoming Arab Jews from everywhere but some are staying because of falafel. As a main dish, it is served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it is served on a salad, or with hummus and tahini. Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians. In Egypt, McDonald's has their version of a falafel sandwich. It is called the McFalafel.



Recipe:
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained......usually they would use dried chickpeas from scratch but canned ones are easier
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • oil for frying (canola or vegetable)

Preparation:

-Place dried chickpeas in a bowl, covering with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. Don't do this step if using canned beans.
-Drain chickpeas, and place in pan with fresh water, and bring to a boil.
-Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer on low for about an hour.
-Drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
-Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add flour.
-Mash chickpeas, ensuring to mix ingredients together. You can also combine ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste.
-Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten.
-Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes).
-Serve hot.





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