Healthy + Lebanese + Recipes + Vegan
Falafel: the journey to my childhood
1985. Falafel: the journey to my childhood
Sometimes I think that in the world, there are people who move and others who are rather static. I’m that kind of guy who cannot stand staying home when he’s on vacation. In my cash flow I am always paying for the trips I made in previous months and while I am doing that, I am already planning a new trip. I know, I’m a mess. At my 35 years I have collected more experiences and miles, than savings for a home of my own.
In fact, 2016 has been relatively quiet, because I am enjoying the dream of this blog and putting all the energy possible to improve my photographic quality and practice many recipes. I am living my most sedentary moment, because I am living through all these stories related to gastronomy.
As a good traveler that I am, I also think about the journey of things, how they are transported until they get to us. For example, the ingredients to eat and drink. It is beautiful that process that takes a grape since the first seeds were planted and all the time that elapsed between rainy and sunny days so that its root would be transformed into stems and branches, and from there sprout first the leaves of vine and then the fruit . Fruit that depending on the vine would become wine and the wine would move land and sea miles, on ships through storms and waves, to reach the mouths of all who enjoy it. All this trip has a reason why, and that is the reason why we cannot throw away the food that is damaged in the refrigerator by our carelessness.
For years, tons of chickpeas made those trips also to my town, San Juan, where I grew up in the center of Venezuela. My mother, my aunts, my grandmother, received those glorious grains and they showed their hands to us, children of Lebanese immigrants born in Latin America, how the chickpeas were soaked and turned into cheerful fried croquettes called falafel. Happy food that made our lunches happy.
When I want to evoke that happy childhood, I do not do arepas, or black roast , or bienmesabe, or tequeños, I get to cook my childhood food: the tabbule, the falafel, the babaganush, the hummus, the kibbe, among others, and although I was born in Venezuela and I feel very Venezuelan, the Lebanese cuisine will always be my real food, the one that intuitively wakes up without needing exact measurements, when I have the ingredients in my hands, and the one that when sniffing it, takes me to the stories of the eighties and nineties, where I never imagined that physical distance would exist between my family and me. Cooking this food is the most similar way I have to travel and be close to my blood affections. This recipe is dedicated to my mother, my aunts, my grandmothers, those of Venezuela, and those of Lebanon.
500 to 700 grams of raw chickpeas soaking for one or two days (cannot be canned!)
1 bunch of small chopped parsley
1 bunch of chopped coriander
2 cloves of garlic
1 white onion cut into small pieces
1 tbsp (tablespoon) of cumin in dry leaves (or powder, even if you do not have cumin, do not limit yourself)
2 tsp (teaspoon) of salt
1 tsp (teaspoon) of baking soda
½ tbsp (tablespoon) of freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 cups of wheat flour or chickpeas or bread crumbs (this will only be used if the dough is not very consistent)
Sufficient vegetable oil to fry the crushed falafel balls.
What I do?
I start with the most difficult: Crush the chickpeas. I remove the chickpeas from the soaking and with a food processor or a potato masher, I grind them, until I guarantee that they have been left in very small pieces. I do not usually remove chickpea kernels, but if it is necessary for you to do so, then do it. I place the dough that is made of crushed grains in a large bowl.
I add the onion, parsley, coriander, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin in a blender or processor. The best way to know how much I will use coriander and parsley is to compare the same amount of onion to be used. Mix until I get a green paste with a strong smell due to the amount of ingredients you are using. Sometimes it is difficult for me to process all that, so I add a little water that helps me liquefy everything better. But it’s only a little bit because I do not want this pasta to be so watery.
I add the green paste on the chickpea dough and mix the ingredients well, until the whole dough turns green.
I check the consistency and if it is very watery and I cannot make flattened croquettes of about 4 or 5 cm, I am adding the flour to improve its consistency. I always prefer to use chickpea flour to keep the main ingredient, but it is more common to use wheat flour and the truth is that it does not change the flavor of the falafel. Once I have the dough ready (defining whether or not I will put the flour), I add the teaspoon of baking soda and mix. I proceed to make the flattened croquettes and place them on a plate.
I heat enough vegetable oil and proceed to fry the balls. It must be enough oil to ensure that they are submerged. They fry quickly, sometimes in a matter of seconds, the important thing is that the falafel take on a pretty tan brown color.
I serve on a plate and accompany with Arabic bread and Lebanese dips like the ones I have already published and enjoy!
Important tip: Do not use canned chickpeas! they will be undone! There are recipes where they combine chickpeas with beans. You can try it and tell me!
Tip # 2: The effect of baking soda is to help inflate the dough and make the falafel feel more spongy (information given by my godmother and my mom!)
Do not forget to follow my account on instagram @ food.o.grafo! There is a super nice edible gallery !!! (modesty aside!)Tags: falafel, lebanese, lebanon, recipe