Falafel: Israeli Street Food!
Falafel is street food, Israeli style! I admit--=I love street food. I grew up eating hot pretzels with mustard in Philadelphia and hot dogs with mustard, relish and sauerkraut in New York City. I drooled over the roasted marrons—chestnuts- on the streets of Paris. And each time I visited Israel, I tried falafel at the numerous stands and restaurants. Classic falafel, influenced heavily by the Jews immigrating to Israel from Yemen, was chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, doused with hummus and tahini sauce in pita. Today, a salad bar of veggies, hot peppers, olives, hot sauces and even French fries can be stuffed into the pita with, of course, the original ingredients.
The falafel themselves are small crunchy flavorful mini-chickpea balls, great as a snack alone but best in a pita stuffed with your favorite. Try it differently each time and enjoy!! Perfect for a picnic outdoors, inviting family and friends over.
Recipe is below.
Beth told me, “I love making challah! I love getting my hands sticky in the bowl of dough....I love sharing extra challah with neighbors and friends and seeing the joy that it brings them. All of this I am grateful for, and happier as a result.” Beth discovers peace and happiness in making challah and in her medical practice, finds that baking challah reduces stress in her patients. Therefore she “prescribes” this baking, realizing that medication is not enough to make people well. Baking challah is Beth’s journey to find wellness.
Falafel in Pitah
Yield 1 dozen falafel balls
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small onion
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
4-6 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Vegetable oil for frying
2-3 tablespoons flour for rolling falafel in flour
Chopped peeled cucumbers
Other vegies of choice, such as lettuce, chopped olives, pickles, bell peppers, hot peppers, onions, and so on.
Place chickpeas and onions in a food processor and blend briefly. Allow texture to remain—do not purée. Add parsley, salt, garlic and cumin. Pulse once or twice to blend.
Mix together flour and baking powder. Add to chickpea mixture in food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture forms a ball.
Remove from food processor and refrigerate in a covered bowl for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Form small falafel balls either with your hands or a melon baller. Roll each ball in flour. Pour oil into the bottom of a skillet to a depth of 2-3 inches. Put balls of falafel in the skillet, not touching one another. Fry until golden and then turn to other side and cook until golden. Drain falafel on paper towels. Continue until all falafel is cooked.
Cut pita in half. Spread a tablespoon of hummus on the bottom. Add 2 falafel balls, 2 tablespoons of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, and your choice of chopped vegetables. Top the veggie mixture with 2 more falafel balls, additional hummus and tahini. Serve room temperature.
Note: Traditionally, falafel is made from uncooked chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, drained, and then pulsed coarsely in a food processor. The rest of the recipe is the same.
Adapted from Joan Nathan. The Foods of Israel Today