Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Falafel and Tzatziki

So thank the lord again for the free wifi at Panera bread. I have no tv and no internet at home so it's sad but the amount of dignity that comes with not suckling the teat of comcast anymore makes it all worthwhile. Thank you also to red box and the two papers I have to write for keeping me occupied. So now I'm at a Panera bread drinking tea and writing a blog. How chic of me! but to the important stuff. This stuff.

I love falafel. The Mediterranean diet and I get along so well. There is an excellent little hole in the wall called Jerusalem in Denver and in my humble opinion they have absolutely fantastic falafel there and baklava and hummus and dolmas. It's really all fantastic but the service is questionable. Also it's kind of a drive to get there.So what is the solution to the problem? Make your own! I had always assumed that because falafel is so damn delicious it would be difficult to make but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The process involves throwing everything into a blender and then frying it. While a deep fryer would have been nice for this recipe, I'm still glad I don't have one because I know that I would fry absolutely everything in my kitchen. Deep fried grapes anyone? And besides, a shallow fry in a couple of tablespoons of oil worked out just fine. The falafel had a crunchy shell on the outside and the inside was cooked through yet still awesomely creamy. It tasted very traditional and just like I could but anywhere else. O! and the tzatziki, also known as the best sauce in the world. I used to make huge batches of this when I still lived at my parents house. So I put the tzatziki and the falafel into pitas with some veggies. It was an awesome meal to say the least. The recipe to follow.

First I piled all of the ingredients into the blender for a tzatziki sauce

Then I cleaned out the blender (isn't it awesome and vintage-y looking? It works phenomenally too. The older they are the better the craftsmanship) and added all of the ingredients for falafel.

This is what the "dough" looks like. Not very appealing, I think that is why you inevitably fry them... to make them somewhat attractive. I had always wondered what made them green and now it's so obviously parsley.

And finally the frying. Of course if you have a deep fryer that would be preferable but a shallow fry for me worked fine and they still browned up very nicely.

This is the sandwich I made. So good. Like the one you can get from the pita pit, another Colorado must in the search for the best falafel.

Now for the recipe. I kind of just threw things into the blender after looking at quite a few different recipes online. As I said it's super easy.

1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber with the seeds removed
2 Tbsp fresh dill
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until creamy. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

1 16 oz can chickpeas
1/2 vidalia or sweet onion
3 Tbsp parsley
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
2-4 Tbsp flour as needed
salt and pepper to taste
Oil to fry in

1. Drain the chickpeas. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until relatively creamy start with only two tablespoons of flour (I left a few chunks in mine because I wasn't too concerned with perfection). This can be done in batches if necessary. When done, transfer to a bowl. if it doesn't feel like it will hold together, add more flour.

2. Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a saute pan so that the bottom is wholly covered. There should be a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch of oil on the bottom. Heat on medium heat.

3. When the oil is heated up, add small balls of the falafel to fry. Mine were about half an inch thick and about two inches in diameter but just use your own judgment. Fry on one side for a minute or two until the bottom is brown and then flip and fry on the other side. When fully cooked, place on a paper towel for a few minutes to let the oil drain out.

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