APPETIZERS

Falafel with tahini sauce

Falafel with tahini sauce

Falafel are traditional Middle Eastern chickpea fritters that are packed with protein and fiber and are incredibly versatile. As small patties, falafel make a great meze dish accompanied with the tahini sauce. We also nestle them in warmed pita bread or flat-bread with hummus, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, tahini sauce, plus a drizzle of chili sauce like sriracha.

Larger falafel patties make wonderful veggie burgers — either with the usual cheese, lettuce, onions and sliced tomatoes or turned into Falafel burgers with tahini-yogurt sauce. Sometimes we also cook walnut-size balls of the mixture and add them to a tomato-based pasta sauce for a version of spaghetti and meatballs.

The falafel mix keeps well in the fridge, in an airtight container or covered bowl, for up to a week. You can also freeze the mix for a few months and defrost it in the fridge overnight before shaping and cooking.

Falafel with tahini sauce
Serves 4
Delicately seasoned falafel (Middle Eastern chickpea fritters) served with creamy tahini sauce. Enjoy in pita bread with crisp salad vegetables, or simply by themselves as a delightful appetizer.
8 oz (230g) dried chickpeas
1 onion — diced
3 garlic cloves (1 clove roughly chopped, 2 cloves minced)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for frying
½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
SOAK the chickpeas overnight in plenty of cold water, covered, on the kitchen bench (the dried chickpeas will swell to around 3 cups worth of soaked chickpeas). DRAIN the chickpeas well and place in a food processor or blender. PULSE until they form a roughly chopped mixture, then add the onion, 1 clove of chopped garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt and olive oil and pulse more, scraping the sides occasionally, until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture holds together. HEAT 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. FORM golf ball-size spoonfuls of the mixture (about 1 heaped tablespoon each) and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand (dampen your hands first to help prevent sticking). FRY half the patties (about 9) for 4 minutes on each side until crisp and golden. REPEAT the process with the remaining olive oil and falafel mixture. TO make the tahini sauce, place the tahini, 2 minced garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon salt, lemon juice and water into a small bowl and mix thoroughly to combine.