Friday, May 31, 2013

Falafel and Tabbouleh

You may recall the massive amount of parsley from the week 2 share?  Well, there's no better cuisine for using parsley than what comes from the middle east, so tonight I challenged myself to make some food I have never cooked before.

Falafel is a mixture of chickpeas, herbs and spices that is blended together, formed into balls and deep fried.  It is a favorite of ours when getting take out, and I have always wanted to try making it at home.  After a little research, I settled on the recipe I found at, which makes use of a healthy dose of parsley.  I made a couple small changes shown in the version written out below.

To accompany rich, spicy flavor of the falafel, I went for the cooling creaminess of tzatziki sauce.  My recipe is a scaled down version of this one from a Greek food website. I put the sauce together the night before to give the flavors plenty of time to meld.

Finally, to make sure none of the parsley escaped, also provided me with this recipe for tabbouleh.  For those who have never had it, tabbouleh is a essentially a parsley salad that is very common in the middle east.

Share contents used:
All the remaining parsley from week 2
The last of the scallions from week 2
Tomatoes from week 4
Mint leaves from the week 2 plant (now growing nicely in the garden)

½ cup finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, drained
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. ground allspice
2 jalapeños, stemmed, roughly chopped
4 scallions, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
Canola oil, for frying

In a food processor, purée the parsley, salt, garlic, chickpeas, cilantro, coriander, cumin, baking soda, cayenne, allspice, jalapeños, scallions and onions until smooth.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm.

Pour oil into a 6-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of 2"; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 300°. Using 2 spoons, shape chickpea mixture into 3" oval balls (should get about 16). Place into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Serve immediately with the tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup English cucumber, diced
1/3 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Peel cucumbers and dice. Put them in a colander sitting atop a bowl and sprinkle with salt to draw out some of the water. Cover with a paper towel and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minutes then drain well and wipe the cucumber dry with a paper towel. You can skip this draining process, if you want, but you will have a moderately messier, runnier result.

In a food processor, add the cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, mint, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt as the cucumber will retain salt from the draining process.

Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so the flavors can blend.

3 tbsp. bulgur
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored and minced
3 ½ cups minced flat-leaf parsley
1 ¼ cups minced mint leaves
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine bulgur and 1 cup boiling water in a bowl and let soak for 1 hour. Drain bulgur, rinse thoroughly, and transfer to a large bowl along with remaining ingredients. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

We stuffed everything into pita pockets and chowed down!  This meal was a lot of work, but was by definitely one of the tastiest dinners I've made since starting this blog, and well worth the effort.  Here is a picture of the final product, seconds before the first bite.

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