Tuesday, April 27, 2010

falafel waffles

ok, so i can't take credit for it, but this is a brilliant idea: waffles made of falafel.
falafel waffles, if you will.

i love falafel, but mostly the crispy outsides, when it comes to the crumbly middle part of the falafel balls i'm less than interested. so when i found this suggestion to make falafel in the waffle iron i couldn't wait to try. plus you have the benefit of not having to deep fry the falafel balls. don't get me wrong, i have NO problem with frying stuff (and especially eating fried stuff), but it's probably healthy to try out other methods of cooking once in a while. the post i found uses falafel from a mix and reports success, but that's not what we do around here, so here's the falafel recipe i used to make it from scratch, from joan nathan's The Foods of Israel Today:

    * 1 cup dried chickpeas
    * 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
    * 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
    * 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
    * 4 cloves of garlic
    * 1 teaspoon cumin
    * 1 teaspoon baking powder
    * 4-6 tablespoons flour

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
(i followed the recipe here - but i would actually say go ahead and puree for the purposes of waffle falafel-making)

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

after refrigerating the mixture you can heat up your waffle iron and oil both sides generously. i found it a little awkward to pat the falafel into the waffle iron, since i'm used to pouring a liquid into the iron that then puffs up. this is not like that, what you put into the iron is what you get out - no expanding or shrinking, so go ahead and pat it in all the way to the edges. bake until golden brown.

i decided to use the waffles to dip into sauces, tahini sauce and raita - rather than putting them into pitas with lettuce and tomatoes as a sandwich, though that would also be good. the tahini sauce was a big hit, and the raita was a delicious pairing - deceptively hot and cool at the same time (marty's concept of a "pinch" of cayenne is a little more like one of my handfuls).

here are the recipes for those sauces:

Tahini Sauce (via Epicurious)

Gourmet | January 2004 
Yield: Makes about 1 1/4 cups

2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup well-stirred tahini (Middle Eastern sesame paste)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Mince garlic, then mash to a paste with sea salt. Whisk together garlic paste and remaining ingredients until combined well. Cooks' note: Tahini sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cucumber-Mint Raita (via Epicurious)
Bon App├ętit | August 2004
Yield: Makes 8 servings

1 large unpeeled English hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded, coarsely grated
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon plus pinch of cayenne pepper

Wrap grated cucumber in kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Whisk yogurt, mint, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in medium bowl to blend. Add cucumbers and toss to coat. Season raita to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Sprinkle raita with pinch of cayenne pepper and serve.

Enjoy - and leave a comment to let me know how it goes if you try it!