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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Falafels with Hummus and Pita (Vegan)

I have always liked falafels; indeed, before I even liked chick peas.  Strange that... don't you agree?

Although, when you consider these fancy, flavourful bundles of fried goodness wrap together all those other warm and sensual flavours, perhaps it is not all that strange.

To be a falafel, I think all that is required is that you be smooshed chickpeas formed into a patty and then fried or baked.  Everything else is just additional.  That said, you'd be silly not to put at least some garlic and onion in there with them.

Myself, I made some rather complex falafels actually.

I had made a chick pea stew the other night, when it was a little chilly there last week.  It was basically, and if I remember correctly in the following order of concentration (highest to lowest): chickpeas, refried pinto beans, onion, garlic, tomato, roasted red pepper, jalapeño, cumin, oregano, salt.

I was a little inebriated when I made it though, so I could be off a little bit on the ingredients... but I don't think I am.  Anyway, I had stewed that for a few hours in a crockpot and then pulsed it briefly in my food processor before serving it atop some flatbread.

It was delicious in and of itself.

But, today I figured I could quite easily turn this into some falafel 'batter'.

Indeed, all I needed to do was add flour, basically.

You know me, though, I had to intensify a few flavours as well.

So I toasted some cumin, and then sauteed a bit more onion and garlic and oregano.  Those were the flavours I wanted to come out most in the falafels, after all.


You could add this to pretty much anything and make it delicious.

So, I stirred this into my 'batter' and then added maybe a cup or two of whole wheat flour (it was all I had).

You can see it is substantially 'stickier' and less moist.

Good for making patties.

Now, you can bake falafels.  At least... if you wanted to... but why?  That delightful crisp crust only really comes from frying.

Truly there are very few things I fry.  In fact, the same tin can of 'waste oil' or grease has sat in the cupboard under my sink for close to five years now.  And it is not even half full.

But, I had a craving for fried falafels.


I felt a little better about frying these boys in cholesterol-free low-in-fat, avocado oil.  Which is generally my oil of choice for any high-heat cooking.  

It has a very high smoke point, which is good for high-heat cooking.  In case you didn't know this, whenever your oil is emitting smoke, that's bad.  Bad for the oil, bad for your food, and bad for your health.  As in carcinogenic.  So, when you're cooking something on high heat, be sure to use a high-smoke-point oil like avocado, safflower, or even canola oil.

So yah, frying is bad... but frying in avocado oil is at least somewhat mitigating of that badness.


Cause you're going to need a lot.

Enough to cover at least a third of the patty/ball, I'd say.

I mean, if you have a deep-fryer, that's great for you... but I'm not talking deep-frying here.  Of course, total submersion in hot oil would make for some perfectly spherical, and probably very uniformly crisped, falafels... but how many of us have our own deep fryers?

So, for us plebs, we're going to have to flip/turn these bad boys over at least a few times to make sure they get cooked on all sides.  And that usually ends up making them a little more cube shaped rather than round and ball shaped.  :(

But oh well.  They still taste great!

When they've fried on each of four (or six if you're taking pains) sides, take them out with a slotted spoon and let them dry on a stack of paper towels.

That's it.  These babies are great on their own, or between bread (like falafel burgers), or what is generally done, stuffed into a pita with some hummus.

I didn't have any pita, but I did have some whole-wheat flatbread that was vaguely naan-like.

And some freshly made hummus!


Ideally these would be shoved into the 'pocket' of a pita, but you could just wrap em up like I did.

Or eat them with a fork and knife works too!

Totally hearty, totally vegan, totally delicious.  Totally falafel! 

heh heh heh