homemade falafel and cucumber sauce.

23Aug10

Know what’s great about New York? Well, plenty. But one of those great things? You can get some falafel on every corner. It’s a beautiful thing.

And as convenient as that is when you’re on the run or desperately seeking to fala-fill an after-bar craving, regularly shelling out $5 to $7 starts to seem increasingly less appealing for us Starving Foodies of the world. However, making tasty balls of mashed chickpea in the comfort of your own kitchen? Delicious, kinda fun and super cheap.

After we’d passed the 3,291st Halal cart and the subsequent drool-inducing aromas of the Mid East wafted into our passing noses, I resolved to do just that. Fueled by the two-thumbs-up from my zucchini patties, I  announced that I’d try my hand at some patties of the chickpea persuasion. (I’m in a very cheesy mood, bear with me.)

I found this version on AllRecipes and went to town. Now, I feel the need to explain myself here, as the fairly long list of ingredients may seem to contradict my mission to find simple, versatile dishes. However, if you’ll peruse said list, you’ll find that you probably already have the majority of these items in your fridge or pantry.

And with modest amounts of each herb and spice, you may decide to skip the cayenne or sub some dried cilantro for the coriander you’re lacking, because my food-loving friend, the two herbs actually hail from the same plant. (Coriander is the seed and cilantro the leaves; both are apparently great for soothing digestion and controlling infection.)

Furthermore, the ingredient list may seem lengthy, but the bulk of your work will simply be measuring, tossing and mixing (and chowing down… a key step). So when you’re ready to accept the challenge, gather the following:

Falafel and Cucumber Sauce

For the falafel:

  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying
  • Pita rounds, sliced cucumber, diced tomato, etc. for sandwiches

For the sauce:

  • 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine yogurt, diced cucumber, dill, mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix until blended and chill in fridge. Note: For best results, prepare cucumber sauce at least 30 minutes in advance to allow flavors to mingle.

To prep the falafel, drain and rinse the chickpeas, and mash them until chunky-smooth in a medium bowl. In a food processor, blend diced onion, parsley (I used dry because I didn’t have fresh on hand) and chopped garlic into a smooth paste. Mix into mashed chickpeas.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, cumin, coriander (I used cilantro), cayenne, salt, pepper, lemon juice, baking powder and olive oil. Combine with chickpeas.

Add olive oil and then slowly mix bread crumbs into mixture until falafel is no longer sticky but packs together easily.

Form two to three inch balls and flatten slightly to form patties. Arrange them on a plate near the stove.

In a skillet, heat 1-inch oil on medium-high. Carefully place patties in oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. If patties aren’t completely submerged, you may need to flip them. Mine weren’t, so being the wimp that I am, I employed the assistance of my brave scalding-oil tamer. (I really need a splatter screen; a foodie should not be afraid of her kitchen. Alas, one is on its way from Pampered Chef… Thanks, ma!)

When finished frying, place patties on a plate with a paper towel. Warm pita rounds if desired and arrange in a classy fashion on the table with cucumber sauce and other sandwich fillers. Stuff half pita full of tomatoes, greens, falafel and cucumber sauce and devour ravenously. We washed it down with a now readily available fave, the rich amber liquid forged at Brooklyn Brewery.

The verdict? In Josh’s words: “This was better than the falafel we got from that stand in Brooklyn.” High-five, self. High. Five.

And since this makes about 10 to 12 patties, get ready to share or brag to your coworkers when you enjoy them for lunch tomorrow. (“That smells amazing, you stop by the stand on the corner?” “Nope,” <Self-indulgent pause> “Made ‘em myself.”)

So next time you consider pulling out your wallet as you near that oh-so-tempting Halal cart, skip the lines and grab your grocery list, instead.

Have any tasty variations or falafel stories to share? Let’s hear ‘em.

Until next time,

Salud!

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5 Responses to “homemade falafel and cucumber sauce.”

  1. 1 Keith

    Wow, those sound like they would be tasty!

    • 2 StarvingFoodie

      Oh yeah, too bad you and Kate couldn’t make it for the test run… next time!

  2. excellent! I was so nerdily excited to discover that coriander and cilantro are from the same plant! thanks for the sweet link to the organic foodee.
    Still, this post makes me ashamed of my lil box of insta-falafel I have in the pantry–especially when the ingredients are so simple! I had no idea.
    After I test out my falafel in a box i’ll try the real thing… i think i can guess which will be better already though…

    • 4 StarvingFoodie

      Haha, I wasn’t aware that insta-falafel existed. Do let me know how it compares. And I feel you on the nerdy excitement, us food dorks have to stick together!


  1. 1 weekend breakfast scramble. « starving foodie.

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