11 June 2011

Baked or griddled falafel with vegan yoghurt sauce

Originally published by Adam and Theresa on: yogikitchen.blogspot.com

I first had Falafel at the tender age of 18 when I went to work on a Kibbutz (like a working farm) in Israel. These days, I'm sure in the trendier areas of East London they're even feeding Falafel wraps on- the-go to their toddlers, but back in the day, falafel was impossibly exotic and not even available at Camden Market. Imagine.




So straight off the plane and driving through the Negev desert to our allotted Kibbutz our driver stops at a roadside place for a quick break and orders one. Now at the time I wasn't vegetarian (that didn't happen for another year and it's another story..) but I've always been interested in different foods, so I immediately ordered the same as him. First off, I have to say I was a little disappointed when they told me it was ground chickpeas; I think I was anticipating chicken nuggets or something, but from the first bite I loved it. The crunch of the falafel with the creaminess of hummus and tahini sauce and sunset looking out over rolling dunes and date palms as far as the eye could see is a memory I will never forget.

None of versions will never match up to the memory of the taste of that first falafel but also these days I am a bit more conscious of the health properties of what I eat and don't go in for deep-frying that much. I can't say you'll get the beautiful crispness you get with frying in loads of oil, but you'll probably feel less greasy afterwards and it's a hell of a lot easier to just whack these in the oven or on a griddle with a tablespoon of oil. Other than that the recipe is pretty much the same as the classic recipe but to stop them falling apart you need to make them much drier than would be needed for deep frying and hence I add chickpea flour, though you could add regular flour or breadcrumbs instead.

Falafel (makes 8 - enough for 4 wraps)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 4 tbs chopped fresh parsley or Coriander
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • pinch of tumeric
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs chickpea flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Add all the ingredients except the fresh herbs, chickpea flour and 1 tbs of the olive oil to a food processor. Blend into a smooth paste.
  • Now add the fresh herbs and gradually mix in the chickpea flour until the mixture is dry enough to shape into small balls (you may have to add more or less according to how it feels).
  • Grease a plate with a little oil and lay the shaped falafels on the plate and put in the fridge for at least an hour. They will firm up a bit more.
  • If oven baking, grease your pan with another tablespoon of olive oil and place the falafel in a preheated oven at about 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. For a slightly more crispy and less dry texture you can drizzle a little olive oil over the top of each one as you turn them after 15 minutes. If you're cooking them in a pan, be sure to heat the oil for a few minutes in medium high so when you add the falafel they won't stick much. Again, if you like crispier, increase the oil a little. Turn half way and cook until golden on both sides.

Vegan yoghurt sauce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup silken tofu
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbs yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • handful chopped fresh mint
  • Peel and grate the cucumber into a bowl. Toss with the salt and set aside for an hour.
  • Meanwhile blend the silken tofu, olive oil, lemon juice, yeast flakes and mustard powder in a food processor until smooth.
  • Now squeeze all the liquid out of the cucumber and mix well with the silken tofu and chopped fresh mint. Serve chilled.
This delirious receipe comes from the fabulous blog. Please visit them for more receipes http://yogikitchen.blogspot.com.

Here is some info about Adam and Theresa:

Tarifa, Andalucia, Spain
We are a couple that practice Ashtanga yoga regularly and when we're not doing yoga our hobby is food. Our interest in Indian food grew when we lived in India for a few years running a yoga centre. We use no onions and no garlic, as instructed by our yoga teacher, R. Sharath Jois in Mysore, India.

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