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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

hippie falafel


i used to hate falafel. i love it now. why, you ask?

because: on my 29th birthday i was dumped at a middle eastern restaurant, over a plate of greek salad (mine) and falafel (his). i've had a truce with falafel for awhile, tho decidedly not with that jackass fellow, may he rot in hell forever.

in recent months, while attending the various farmer's markets in the city, dw introduced me to the hippie falafel stand. it is amazing, and i have to tell you, baltimore boasts some excellent already-prepared food stands at their markets. but this particular stand. effing amazing.

the falafel itself is standard, plump, fried to a golden crisp on the outside, but juicy and tender inside. it's the condiments that do it for me. they add seasonal veggies AND fruits, throwing in blueberries or fresh peaches, drizzled with honey, sriracha AND tahini sauce. it's a hot mess in a tortilla wrap but the flavor in the mouth after the first bite? it's a revelation. and finally, just recently, a reality.

i first made these last week, with canned chickpeas. dw inhaled TWO in one dinner sitting and had it again for lunch the next day. the lighting was off so i didn't snap pix but he consumed it so fast and eagerly that i decided to make them again over the weekend, this time with dried beans. the recipe calls for soaking of 24 hours and then baking for 20 or so minutes. i found this method made for a very difficult mixing process, they would not shape properly for me despite adding water and flour. with a bit of coaxing, it worked out but still, i wonder if canned is just the better option. dw disagrees. he thinks next time we should boil the beans for about an hour after the 24 hour soak. it's an option. because seriously, these are effing amaze-balls. them hippies. they know how to throw a party.

adapted from the nervous cook

2 lbs dried chickpeas, uncooked, soaked 24 hours
1 tsp baking soda
parsley, chopped*
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tsp cumin
cayenne pepper*
salt & pepper to taste
oil for frying

tortilla wrap
shredded cabbage
sliced avocado
sliced apples
vinegar onions
tahini sauce

*for the parsley and cayenne pepper, i did not measure. it was whatever parsley i had leftover and i just tipped the spice jar over and gave it a healthy shake.

preheat oven to 400F.

process everything in food processor, pulsing until they come together.

if it doesn't stick, add up to 1 TBL water and 1/2 TBL AP flour. eyeball it according to consistency.

form the balls, i think i made up about 16.

then i part-fried them in a bit of oil, to create a crispy skin all around. then i baked them further in the oven for 25 minutes.

serve in tortilla wraps, topped with whatever condiments you want or have on hand. i used apples, avocado, vinegar onions and drizzled the entire mess with tahini, honey and sriracha. the crunch of the apples and onions gives it something special and that touch of honey brings it all full circle. i promise.


  1. Wow! Your photos are stunning. The colours are like a work of art. *Almost* too pretty to eat. Almost ;)

  2. The idea of eating falafel with apple slices seriously makes my heart feel warm a little. Two of my favorite things ever -- why haven't I put them together before!?

    Glad these worked out for you, though I'm not sure about the soaked vs. canned issue. I'll have to make a batch using canned chickpeas to see how different it is, 'cause I haven't tried that yet.

  3. Good grief woman, these look amah-zing!! I love a tasty and not too fried falaf.

  4. What?! Who dumps you on your birthday?!!! Jerk! And then he taints Middle Eastern food for you. I falafel about that. :P OK, I couldn't resist the bad pun.

    You don't cook your beans after soaking? That makes a big difference. Although, I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's canned chickpeas. I think the quality is better than other brands I've tried. TJ's chickpeas I just eat out of the can. Although, I do sometimes dump them out and add olive oil, vinegar, and Parmesan cheese for a quick salad.

  5. Ditto on the many who gave mad props to your photos. I also love that most of the food is on those dishes I gave Devin (or possibly he stole!). The falafel look great; they are one of my favorite M.E. things. If you like M.E. food, we should put Shiraz on our food itinerary when you visit.

  6. I will forever love you for this, because I love love love the Helium Brother's falafel from the the Downtown farmer's market in B-more!!! So you gave us a credible recipe and I will forever be in your debt when the market is closed or I am too lazy to go or it's not Sunday. Thank you from the bottom of my hippy loving heart!!!!

  7. These look delicious.

    Unlike you, I have a positive, longstanding relationship with falafel. I moved to Cincinnati many years ago with my best friend, who happened to be a vegetarian... and the Moosewood Cookbook triumverate of Falafel/Tabouli/Pita bread was something we just... did once in a while. Happy memories.

  8. looks SOOOOOOO tasty. i want to eat it for breakfast. RIGHT NOW. ;P hahah. thanks for that tweet/comment. It was adorable!

  9. Yum! Growing up vegetarian (and yes, a hippy!)in the 80's falafel was pretty much our only option if we ever ate out... so I've always LOVED them. Yours looks super good :-)

  10. looks so colourful and really "hippie" haha. I would agree with the soaking then boiling. firstly it's prbably a lot cheaper than canned, secondly, it's healthier cos soaking gets rid of the digestive issues with beans!

  11. I equally hate falafel for personal experience reasons but it was because early into my cooking days I decided to host a dinner and make falafel. The frying oil was not hot enough and the falafel mixture basically melted into the oil and I had a big pot of green oil on my hands. I need to try this again!

  12. BunnyeatsDesign - it's because it's so pretty that you HAVE to chow on it! :)

    Meister - it is quite genius that addition of snappy apples to this. i've always enjoyed that combo with savory foods & this goes just so well.

    photohogger & SKM & Jen & lizsong - thank you.

    chi wc - it's a learning process for me, using dried stuff, i'd never done it before, i've always used canned stuff. now i know! :)

    carolyn - yes, i do enjoy middle eastern food, now. i am so looking fwd to visiting in november, and yes, please let's add Shiraz to our list of places to check out.

    wisdom goddess - you are very welcome. enjoy!

    jeff - make it again! and blog about it. :)

    emma - as a meat eater, i am very much turning into a devout veggie eater and dishes like this really helps.

    shu - thank you for the tip, i'm learning so many good things about using dried beans!

    karen - oh don't give up! to ease back into it, go to a great middle eastern restaurant and have theirs, that should inspire you to try it if my post doesn't.