Falafels are vadas of the middle east. They are eaten in pita pockets filled with some fresh salad topped with a dressing of tahini or hummus.
I neither had the mood to make tahini nor hummus. Anyways I had made the stew and it was an excellent dip and accompaniment to gulp down bites of Falafel.
Falafel differs from our dal vadas to begin with only the raw material. Rest of the spicing is almost identical to the Indian variety. Falafels are made with soaked Kabuli chana/ chickpeas where as we use chana dal for our dal vadas. The amount of cilantro used is more where as we might use just a handful.
They are great to pop into the mouth. Now in Mumbai these outlets have started in multiple locations. I am yet to try out but the prices look ridiculus. Most Mumbaites may prefer to buy their dal vadas instead from the food counters at the railway station or their favorite hole in the wall shops near home, 2 pieces for Rs.10. I prefer to eat at home whether dal vadas or Falafels. I followed this recipe with some freedom.
1 cup chickpeas/ Kabuli chana soaked overnight
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
Olive Oil for frying
Grind the chickpeas to grainy texture. Mix intermittently to get uniform texture. While grinding add cilantro.
Add the chopped onion, garlic, cumin, pepper and salt. Mix well. Roll into lemon sized balls. If you think they don't hold together well you can use some flour or add bread crumbs as binders. I did not do this as I was able to shape them well and knew they would hold shape while frying.
Fry them in a shallow pan using Olive oil, on high heat. Make them golden. Most times they are deep fried but shallow frying also makes them nice and crunchy while you use less oil. Especially when using Olive oil.
Serve hot with tahini or hummus and go traditional. I'll do that next time. A pita pocket too sounds good but not so soon.
Do note this:
Read here about how Olive oil deteriorates at high temperatures and should not be reused. So to avoid large quantity of leftover oil shallow fry with whatever amount of oil you need.
When I am frying something what I follow is fry first, mostly shallow, rarely deep frying. I never deep fry in Olive oil as I do not want to waste the expensive oil after frying once. Then use up whatever oil you need for cooking the other dishes on your day's menu. I try to finish off whatever little oil I have after the shallow frying, immediately.
Actually this applies for frying in any kind of oil even if they are the high temperature resistant ones like refined vegetable oils. I still don't like to keep leftover oil.