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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Falafel

Sometimes cooking international food with imported ingredients can become quite pricey. I love finding meals that are nearly 100% from local ingredients. Granted, where I live there's not too much that is truly local as most of our "local" products actually come from neighboring countries. Anyway, enter the humble falafel, a recipe that could be completely local and cheap save for one non-traditional ingredient. Even with this additional flavor element, however, it's a super inexpensive vegetarian meal that's easy to prepare. If you make them in advance, you can reheat them in a traditional oven or even Miracle Oven.

Falafel on roti with tzatiki dressing
I found this recipe in my quest for more meatless meals last year and have been tweaking and tweaking the ingredients to get it just right. This week I think I hit the nail on the head. Again, this is my Americanized version so I make no claims of authenticity.

Falafel
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard (that's the one...)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1 slice brown bread, torn into small pieces
2 eggs

If you have a food processor, place all the ingredients in it and blend until you have a relatively smooth paste. You can also accomplish this in a blender, but you might need a little more liquid (and later cracker crumbs to absorb it). Heat a few tablespoons oil in a pan over medium high heat. Drop batter in large spoonfuls into the pan to make small patties. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden. I really did not time this at all, but the original recipe made the suggestion. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm. Serve with pita bread or thick roti, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and a drizzle of tzatziki (see bottom of this post for recipe).

Note: If you happen to use a can of chickpeas instead of dried ones, reduce the salt added to only 1/8 teaspoon. 

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