Sunday, January 16, 2011

Falafel with Sesame Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Sesame Tahini and Chick Peas
Featured Ingredients: Sesame Tahini and Chick Peas or Garbanzo Beans

Recently, I've been pulling out my favorite recipes from Culinary School and revisiting that time in my life. I made one last week that was for a Chicken Tagine, that actually didn't work very well.  It called for nearly 6 cups of water.  It sounded like a lot but I trusted the source.  Unfortunately at the end the dish tasted, like someone left a pot of it out on an outdoor patio table in the rain.  I do recall that the instructor would, at times, modify the recipes in our binders during class.  I was using the original copy and that may have been the case with this recipe as it wasn't the wonderful dish I remember.

This recipe was also from Culinary School, I took some liberties this time.  It seemed there was too much of some elements and not enough of others, so creation is actually a merger of the school's recipe and one I saw recently on Budget Bytes. The falafel recipes are similar.  I just serve mine with a Sesame Tahini dressing.

Falafel   - Serves 4 (about 3 patties each)
2 cups Goya Chick Peas (rinsed and drained)
1/2 a red onion - roughly chopped
1/4 cup parsley (washed and dried with paper towel)
1/4 cup cilantro (washed and dried with paper towel)
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic - roughly chopped
2 tsps baking powder
2 tbsp flour plus more if needed

Pitas, Lettuce, Tomato and Cucumber

Tahini Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)

Place chick peas,  onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro, cumin, salt and black pepper in a food processor.  I like to rough chop the onion and garlic to give them a head start. Process until blended but not pureed. This way everything ends up with the desired texture.

Falafel Mixture
Remove to a bowl and add baking powder.  Add 2 tbsp of flour, you may need to add more depending on how wet your mixture was initially.  You should be able to form a small ball and it should not be sticky.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile make Tahini Yogurt Sauce

7 oz. Fage 2% Greek Yogurt
2 tbsps Sesame Tahini (Mix the Tahini in the container to help recombine)
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt or more to taste
Additional water
When you open the Tahini it looks like peanut butter in its own juice.  It's sort of the same principle as peanut butter as it is ground up sesame seeds. The school recipe called for Tahini Paste, which I couldn't find, so I actually used the pasty part of the Tahini with some of the liquid to help thin out the yogurt.

Whisk yogurt, tahini,  lemon juice and salt in a small bowl.  Add 2 tbsp water, or more if you like a thinner sauce.  I kept mine the consistency of soft serve ice cream. When you first add liquid and start mixing it, it doesn't look good, but keep whisking and the sauce will become silky smooth.

Back to Falafel

Using a tablespoon scoop heaping spoonfuls from the giant falafel ball.  Form into smaller balls and pat down into patties.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick skillet and fry falafels on medium heat in batches until golden on both sides. These things suck up oil, so you may need more as you go along.  (Don't overcrowd pan).  If you have a fish spatula, consider yourself fortunate, as you need to flip them delicately so they don't fall apart. 

Serve with lettuce, tomato and cucumber on pita. I like to cut the top and around the pita so it looks like a sleeping bag.  This way you can lay lift the top of the pita and lay out your falafels with the lettuce, sauce etc, evenly without breaking the bread and then cover them with a "blanket".

Falafel with Tahini Yogurt Sauce
I have a question. Is it falafel or falafels? Are you refering to each individual falafel patty or is the falafel the sandwich itself.  Is it like asparagus?  Is the plural asparagi?  Because asparaguses sounds wrong.  I digress.  Either way it's healthy and delicious.  Enjoy!  

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