Fabulous falafels

4

PREP TIME

15 min

Makes

8 falafel sandwiches

* PLUS Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 540-mL cans chickpeas , drained
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 1 large onion , finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley , or coriander, about 1/2 to 1 bunch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 pitas
  • 2 tomatoes , chopped
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce , shredded
  • 1/2 English cucumber , chopped
  • 1/2 thinly sliced Spanish or red onion
  • drizzle of lemon-tahini sauce
  • harissa hot sauce , optional

Instructions

  • Place drained chickpeas in a medium-size mixing bowl. Mash with a fork until crumbly (using a food processor makes chickpeas too soft and smooth). Add egg, onion, parsley, flour, garlic, seasonings and baking powder. Stir until well mixed.
  • Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out mixture and shape into patties, each about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Place on waxed paper. You should have about 16 patties. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan set over medium heat. Add about a third of the patties to pan. Sauté until they are golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes per side, turning once. Cover to keep warm. Sauté remaining patties, adding more oil to pan if needed. Open up each pita; tuck in 2 patties. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and onion. Drizzle with lemon-tahini sauce. For a fiery taste, add harissa.

In the Middle East, this is fast food. Street vendors fry these chickpea balls in bubbling oil, then tuck them into a pita with colorful salad. With a final flourish, they add a squirt or two of tahini and spicy harissa sauces. We’ve switched ours from the deep-fat fryer to the saute pan with excellent results.

Lemon-tahini sauce

Tahini is sesame-seed paste. It looks like light peanut butter and is sold in the condiment section of supermarkets. For lemon-tahini sauce, stir 1/2 cup tahini with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/3 to 1/2 cup water, 1 large crushed garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt and generous pinches of cayenne and freshly ground black pepper. Makes 1 cup