Sunday, June 15, 2014

Falafel with Tahini Sauce - Vegan Challenge Day 7

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I know what you're thinking, does the world really need another recipe for falafel?
Well, in all modesty, yes. I believe it does. 
Afterall, they are the vegan mediterranean food par excellence! Add to that the fact that I'm Lebanese and therefore about to give you the best recipe for falafel there is, you do the math. 


If you walk down the streets of Beirut, especially in the old parts of the city, you would see Falafel joints everywhere. They're usually tiny takeout shops, with often no seating available, and most of them opening until very late to cater to the young night owls partying till the early morning hours. 
The huge demand for this sandwich is not surprising to tell you the truth. Because falafel is really the ultimate fast food! Within one amazingly tasty wrap, you've got your fresh vegetables, nutritious sesame sauce and your proteins. Best of all, it's dead cheap. No wonder it's an all round favorite!


In the old days, young couples would go have a falafel sandwich with a fizzy drink, and call that a date. Things were simple like that back then. 
Imagine my surprise when one day, as a young teenager, my dad listed the rules for dating his daughter (moi) in front of my friends (including a guy I had a huge crush on). And they went within the lines of this: " the suitor must come ask my permission to take my daughter out on a date, and should I accept, he may take her out for a falafel sandwich and a cola, then bring her back home in time for afternoon tea..." 
My goodness I had never felt so embarrased in my life! I remember wanting to bury myself under a huge pile of falafel patties and never ever come out again! 


But you know what? Now that the years have passed, I got married and started my own beautiful family, with my 8 month old son taking every second of every waking hour of my time with him when I'm not at the office, I would give just about anything for a falafel sandwich date with my husband, from that tiny shop at the Beirut waterfront, and have a leisurly afternoon walk hand in hand under the beautiful Lebanese summer sun.

Makes about 8-10 patties (enough for 4-5 wraps)
For the falafel patties
- 1/2 cup uncooked rehydrated chickpeas
- 1/2 cup uncooked rehydrated split fava beans
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro
- 1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley 
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- Vegetable oil for frying

For the garnish:
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced radishes
- Flat leaf parsley
- Mint
- Cornichon or cucumber pickles
- Pita bead or flour tortillas

For the Tahini sauce (called Tarator) - Makes about 1 cup
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Salt
Soak the dry beans overnight at least in water. Drain and dry with kitchen paper thoroughly. This is a very important step, otherwise the falafel dough will be too wet and won't hold to the frying.
Put all the ingredients of the falafel patties in a food processor, and mix until a doughy paste has formed, the consistency of cookie dough. If the mixture is too wet, add a few tablespoons of flour to achive the desired consistency. 
Heat the oil to 180-185°C. make falafel patties from about 1 tablespoon of the mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional) and make a hole in the center of the patty. Fry for about 5 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and crispy. 
Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Whisk all the tahini sauce ingredients together and season with salt to taste.
Make falafel wraps by cutting the patties in half, place them in the center of the bread, add garnishes and drizzle generously with the Tarator tahini sauce.


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