My challenge for my Taste-Buds this time is a recipe that is eaten all through the Middle East, even though if made differently from country to country. The news about it is that it is a totally vegetarian meal that every man I know LOVES! Yep, you heard me right!
I can tell you it is not something you would eat before a date or an appointment: it is rich in garlic and onions, so if you fear their effects then better abstain.
Well people, this time we are making Falafel, Lebanese version (my mother’s version to be exact), from scratch. Yep the whole deal. So lift up your sleeves and get down to work for the best Falafel ever!
Oh! By the way if you cannot find the fava beans you can do with the chickpeas alone, although I personally don’t think it is as good.
- 3 cups dry chickpeas
- 2 cups dry fava beans (peeled)
- 2 medium onions or 1 big onion
- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbsp Lebanese Falafel spices mix (cumin, dry coriander, nutmeg, pepper, white pepper) or to taste
- Tahini sauce (Tarator – recipe follows)
- Assorted vegetables:
- Parsley and mint combined and chopped.
- Tomatoes diced.
- Pickles of any kind (hot pepper, cucumber, turnip…).
- Other suggestions: Bell pepper chopped, green onions, radishes.
- Soak the chickpeas and the Fava beans overnight in water (enough to cover) and about 1 Tbsp baking soda. Don’t boil.
- Put the first four ingredients in a food processor and mix till they form a homogeneous paste.
- Transfer to a bowl, add the salt and spices and combine thoroughly (fold over with hand to get best results). At this point it is possible to freeze and thaw for later use.
- Take a small amount of the mix and put in a Falafel mold or if not available form into a shape similar to burger, but only about 5cm diameter.
- Fry in oil till golden.
- Make a Lebanese bread wrap with the Falafel (preferably crushed on the bread to get out the tastes) and the veggies. Drizzle with Tahini sauce.
Tarator or Tahini sauce:
- 1 small clove of garlic (optional)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 – 3 Tbsp Tahini
Pound the garlic with the salt with a pestle till smooth. Add the Tahini and slowly drizzle the juice of the lemon. If needed add some water to get a thick liquid. The sauce will thicken after it sits for a while to become a tad viscous, it is normal it is how it should be. It should not look like a paste though.