Falafel

Falafel

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Ingredients

For the Balls:
2 cups dried chickpeas
1 cup dried split fava beans (find at a Middle Eastern/import store - substitute more chickpeas if you can't)
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup parsley
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp salt
dash cayenne
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
oil for frying

For the Meal (pita and tahini sauce required, the rest can vary depending on what you have on hand):
pita bread (I've also used Lavash flatbreads, for a wrapped sandwich)
tahini sauce
hot sauce (like a Tabasco or Tapatio)
chopped cabbage or romaine lettuce
chopped parsley
sliced pickles
sliced cucumbers
pickled turnips (more on these another time)
sliced onion
chopped tomatoes

Directions

Soak the dried beans overnight, in the refrigerator if the weather's warm. I've been known to leave them there several days, to no ill effect, but about 8 hours is your minimum. Drain them, and grind with all remaining ingredients (except the oil) in a food processor. This recipe doesn't get too pasty, so you can go for a fairly fine grind (but not a smooth puree -- you still want to see bits).

To fry, bring at least an inch of oil up to a medium high heat. Once a pinch of the falafel mix starts sizzling rapidly when you drop it in, you're ready. shape the falafel into patties -- I think there's actually a tool for this purpose, but I use an oiled 1/4 measuring cup, packed about 4/5 full. If they don't stay together, add a bit more water to the mixture -- I'm usually alright with just the residual water clinging to the beans, but sometimes need more. Better to add too little water than too much. Fry the patties in the oil, turning once the bottom side is lightly browned. The time can vary depending on the heat of the oil -- about 5-7 minutes. Flip, and brown the other side. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, and repeat until you've fried as many as you like. Add more oil if the level drops to where it no longer covers the falafel at least halfway. If you don't fancy sitting in front of the stove while your friends eat, you can pre-fry all of your patties, and then throw them in an oven or toaster until they sizzle again.

To assemble, grab half a pita bread. break a few falafel balls in half, and stuff them in the bottom. Top with any of the vegetables you desire, douse liberally with tahini sauce, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Enjoy the hot/cool/salty/tangy deliciousness. Repeat as needed.