I just finished eating some yummy homemade falafel. Finally! I spent a lot of time reading about falafel last weekend and finally decided to try Mark Bittman's Minimalist recipe after reading here that "real" falafel does not use cooked or canned beans. I learned a bit about falafel while I was looking through recipes. For instance, it's also called "ta’amia" and can be made with fava beans. I'm getting a lot better, but planning isn't really one of my strengths, and as you'll see from the recipe, the beans have to soak for 24 hours. I finally got my act together and started soaking the beans yesterday as soon as I got back from work.
It was definitely worth it. The falafel was delicious. I'd made it once before with a recipe that called for Garbanzo bean flour, but the falafel came out doughy and kind of gross. This came out much more like the Papou's falafel that I was trying to emulate.
I don't think I'll be making it again though until I get a food processor. I had to make do with the blender, but it really didn't chop up the beans well. It never really does when I make hummus either, so I don't know why I thought this would be different. I guess I didn't really. I just wanted to make falafel and had no other choice. I didn't mind eating the whole beans that ended up in the cooked falafel, but there just wasn't enough moisture to hold the falafel together. It made it quite frustrating to cook. It didn't help that I was making pita bread and trying to satisfy the demands of my 2-year-old at the same time. To compound the frustration, I didn't start with a clean kitchen, so things fell and swears were uttered. I'm over it now.
The recipe's definitely a keeper. Let me know if you try it with a food processor and have better luck with getting the patties to stay in one piece. If you're looking for a less traditional falafel, I've made this sweet potato falafel before. It's very different from the original but very good.
I'm not sure what I'm going to make yet for recipe #3. Heidi from 101 Cookbooks just posted a Ribolita recipe that I bet is good, and a friend just recommended the potato lima bean soup from the Moosewood lo-fat cookbook. I've also been wanting to make something with artichokes purely just because I think they'd be fun to photograph. I'll post what I end up deciding on soon.
Here are some photos of my falafel experiment:
The batter (which you can see is more of a salad than a batter):
Basket o' Pita: