Summer is all about taking time to do the things one often doesn’t have time for during the Â year.
So, it has been months that I’ve been dreaming about getting into the kitchen and being creative, making falafel and pita from scratch and relaxing with an authentic Israeli meal!
I must say that this Falafel recipe is incredible and so is the Pita bread and Techina!
FALAFEL (Yield about 20 Falafel balls)
- 1 cup dried chickpeas (I used canned chickpeas)
- 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper (I omitted)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4-6 tablespoons flour
- Soybean or vegetable oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)
- Chopped tomato for garnish
- Diced onion for garnish
- Diced green bell pepper for garnish
- Tahina sauce
- Pita bread
- Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
- Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade (I used my vitamin). Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
- Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours. ( I only refrigerated it for 1 hour and did need to add flour so it wouldn’t be sticky).
- Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets. (I used my hands)
- Heat 3 inches of oil to 375ÂºF in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.
TECHINA (From Michael Solomonov’s cookbook ZAHAV)
- Juice of 1 1/2 largeÂ lemonsÂ (about 1/3 cup), more to taste
- 2 to 4Â clovesÂ garlic, grated (or minced)
- 1 Â¾Â teaspoonsÂ kosher salt, more to taste
- 1Â cupÂ sesame tahini (I use the 365 brand)
- Â½Â teaspoonÂ ground cumin, more to taste
In a blender, combine the lemon juice, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let mixture sit 10 minutes. Add tahini, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the cumin, and blend until a thick paste forms. Add 1/3 to 2/3 cup ice water while blender is running, a little at a time, until sauce is smooth. Youâ€™re looking for a perfectly smooth, creamy sauce.
PITA BREADÂ (From Michael Solomonov’s cookbook ZAHAV)
- 2Â½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1Â½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Mix together Â½ cup water, the yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a large mixing bowl. Mix using the stand mixer or a wooden spoon until blended. Add the yeast mixture, another Â½ cup of water, and the oil and mix until the dough forms a ball that pulls clear of the sides and bottom of the bowl. If after a few minutes the mixture doesn’t form a ball, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it does.
- The moment the dough starts to pull clear of the bottom of the bowl, add Â½ cup water and continue mixing until incorporated. The dough should feel tacky when slapped with a clean hand, but it should not stick. If it sticks, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about an hour. Alternatively, let it rise in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, with a rack in the upper third. Place a baking stone or an inverted baking sheet (I used a cookie sheet) in the oven to preheat as well.
- Roll the dough into 8 balls the size of baseballs. Cover with a cloth and let rise until they are about the size of softballs.
- Roll each dough ball to about Â¼” thickness with a floured rolling pin on a floured work surface. Place one or two (I placed more, as many as would fit) at a time on the baking stone or baking sheet and bake until puffed and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately, or let cool.