Date Night Dinners - Falafal

12/13/2013 tringel 0 Comments

Brenden and I got a little wild with this weeks Date Night Dinner. We had a lot of excitement going on, and what better way to get excitement out then by celebrating with food?! Last night was my last class this semester: my final project was done and ready to be turned in, my sleep pattern was ready to get back on track from my late night Thursday outings of critiques and class discussions, and my body and mind was ready to have some thoughtless, stress free time with Brenden. Plus we were still buzzing over our "new" food processor.

We decided to step out of our growing habit of making an easy, comfort food, casserole-esque dish and try something new. Falafel. Yum. Brenden and I both love falafel, it is filled with flavors that you don't typically get in American cuisine, it turns out it is not too difficult to make, and it is fairly healthy (besides the whole deep frying part, but we baked ours). Good falafel is hard to find here (I went to Israel and had falafel pretty much everyday and now there is no turning back, falafel is just not the same). Luckily, there is one great place in Silver Spring that has amazing falafel - it is almost, ALMOST like eating it in Israel. They have the best matzoh ball soup too. Oh man do I love a good matzoh ball! But back to falafel, since my parents introduced us to Max's falafel we have not been able to find that greatness anywhere else (besides Israel of course but that can get a bit expensive to go back and forth for just one meal). Unfortunately, Max's is pretty inconvenient for us to go to on a whim (although much easier then Israel) whenever the falafel craving strikes. So, Israel is our and Max's is out...except for special occasions. What else was there for us to do? How about come up with our own creation of amazing falafel balls built specifically to our tastes and have a feast right in our own home. And that is just what we did.

I tried a falafel recipe one of the first night we got the food processor; however, they were a bit of a disappointment. But after all I don't know what I was expecting, perfection does not come after just one try. So we pondered the short comings of the first attempt, made a plan, and tried it again. We found a different recipe this time and adapted the two as well as applied our own instincts to make a pretty good round two of falafels. Of course there is still a bit of tweaking to do to get that perfect falafel taste, but this round is definitely worthy of sharing with the world. Why keep this a secret? We want every to experience a little bite joy in their mouth. I think our success came from adding the spices slowly this time. We would add some spice, blend, taste, adjust, and repeat. Patience is key.

Do not get frustrated if your flavors aren't coming out correctly at first it is always fixable - that is if you don't overdo it on the first round. Just remember less is is probably not too fixable if you add a lot of everything to early. It is easy to add but almost impossible to take away. Mistake number one I made with the first round of falafels...whoops I guess I let my guard down at the wrong time. Anywho, this time we did much better with the spice pallette. We still ended up adding too much onion so I would use a little less of that next...unless you REALLY like onion. I would also add more flour or something to hold it together better. The since we added some lime juice, the mixture was a bit hard to handle, but nothing horrible. Frying definitely did not work though, they just dissolved into nothingness when we tried. Good thing we had planned on baking most of them anyways (easier, and as I said much healthier).

Recipe adapted from, Baked Falafel

  • 2-15.5oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Eggplant, yellow onion, and red bell pepper, chopped and baked (I baked all three on a baking pan covered with cooking spray for 25 minutes on 400 degrees, but you can cook however you prefer)
  • Tomato, thinly chopped
  • Red onion, thinly chopped
  • Hummus
  • Pickled hots
  • 2 pieces naan bread

  1. In a food processor combine all of the falafel ingredients and blend until will combined and the texture is smooth and creamy. I used a fork to mix the ingredients in between blending to make sure it all mixed together (you don't want to add water because it will make the mixture too liquid-y and the balls will not hold). It also allowed me to taste the mixture and tweak seasonings to my taste
  2. Once the ingredients are blended and to taste, place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.(You can skip this step, but it helps when forming into balls because the mixture is more solid. Also it allows all of the flavors to really come out and meld together.)
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Spray a baking tray with cooking spray.
  5. Remove falafel mixture from freezer and begin to roll into balls, about ping-pong ball sized.
  6. Place falafel balls on baking tray until filled. You should be able to squeeze the entire batch on one sheet - they do not expand so they do not need to much space, just make sure they do not touch so they all get fully heated.
  7. Spray the tops of the falafel balls with cooking spray, or brush with a light coat of oil to help brown.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and flip falafel balls (the bottom side should be nice and golden brown by now [that side should face up once flipped]). I pressed my falafel out a bit on this step making them a more pancake shape.
  10. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  11. Place the naan on a baking tray and add to oven with falafel for the last two and half minutes to warm through.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool until able to handle.
  13. Place the falafel on the naan and fill with topping of your choice.
  14. Wrap like a taco and enjoy.

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