Al Kuwaitiah  

Monday, March 30, 2020

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theguardian
How to cook the perfect falafel
Felicity Cloake's perfect falafel. Photographs: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
 
They do fast food properly in the Middle East: chargrilled meaty wraps; crisp, wafer-thin pastries; and, of course, the almost ubiquitous falafel fritter. Once almost exclusively the preserve of the vegetarian in the kebab shop, more authentic versions, heaped with nutty tahini sauce and punchy salads, are increasingly charming British punters away from the burger van. Hot and crunchy on the outside, fluffy and herby within, it's no wonder so many countries want to claim the falafel as their own.
 
The Oxford Companion to Food reckons that falafel's "extremely ancient" origins lie in Egypt, where it is still an immensely popular snack. It is also one of the national dishes of Israel (thanks, according to Claudia Roden, to Yemenite immigrants) as well as showing strongly in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Jordan.
 
Indeed, you can find good falafel everywhere from Baghdad to Bawshar – but, unless you live near one of the small, but growing, number of decent vendors here in Britain, your best bet might be to make your own. Thankfully, it's really quite simple.
 
Here is how to make the delcious falafel:
 
100g dried chickpeas
200g dried, split skinless broad beans
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp of Lebanese seven-spice (or ½ tsp ground black pepper and ¼ tsp each of ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg)
1 tsp salt
5 spring onions, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Large bunch of coriander, long stems removed, roughly chopped
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, long stems removed, roughly chopped
½tsp baking powder
4 tbsp sesame seeds
Sunflower or vegetable oil, to fry
 
Soak the chickpeas and broad beans in separate bowls of plenty of cold water overnight. Drain and tip on to a clean tea towel to dry.
Put all the beans and half the chickpeas into a food processor and whiz until smooth (be careful not to overload your processor). Add the spices, salt, spring onions and garlic and whiz again, until well combined. Finally, add the remaining chickpeas and fresh herbs and pulse until chopped and well combined, but not pureed – the mixture should still be lumpy with chickpeas.
 
Heat a little oil in a small pan over a high heat and fry a teaspoon of the mixture to check the seasoning. Adjust if necessary, then stir in the baking powder. Chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes.
 
Roll the mixture into small, flattish balls, about 5-6cm across, and roll briefly in the sesame seeds.
 
Heat 5cm oil in a deep pan to 180C/350F, then fry the falafel in batches and drain on kitchen paper. Serve with tahini sauce, toasted flatbreads and plenty of salad.
 
Where do you stand on falafel? Chickpea or broad beans, coriander or parsley, chillies or sweet spice – or are you yet to be converted to the joys of the deep-fried pulse? What do you serve with yours (salad ideas particularly welcome), and what is the best you've ever had?
 
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