It’s the eve of another From Scratch session, so I decided to play a little bit of catch-up. It’s my turn to host tomorrow, which means this post I’m writing is for a From Scratch Saturday that occurred four months ago in May. Wow. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.
One of my favorite meals is falafel. A friend of mine showed me how to make it quite a few years ago. I’ve since lost touch with her, but I always think about her when I have this meal. She taught me how to make hummus and tabbouleh as well. She didn’t have any written recipes, unfortunately, so when we decided to attempt this meal for From Scratch, I had to consult online recipes. I was pleased with the results!
The hummus recipe we used came from this website. I love her recipes because they are very practical (and entertaining!).
Hummus – recipe from Ordering Disorder
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
1/3 cup water
3T extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, roasted*
Rinse and drain your can of chickpeas and dump it into your food processor. Squeeze the lemon in. Add the rest of the ingredients and whirrrrrr. Don’t forget to add the cloves of garlic. If it seems slightly too thick add water a tablespoon at a time.
* Take your head of garlic and break it in half or so. Chop the end off of it. Put it on some tinfoil that is large enough to wrap around the head. Pour a little olive oil on top. Wrap it up and place it inside a muffin tin to keep it upright. Roast it in the oven for 30 minutes at 325.
Moving on to the falafel balls! My friend said she used to make them from scratch, but then she tried the mix from a box and said she couldn’t tell a difference. I agree now that I’ve used both, but of course we had to make them from scratch this time since that’s the whole point of our little club!
Falafel – recipe from Epicurious
Yield: About 20 balls
1 cup dried 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
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
1. 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.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or 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.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees 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.
Saada’s Tabbouleh – recipe from Epicurious
2 cups bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 large bunch parsley
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves (we chose to omit)
4 green onions
3/4 pound tomatoes, seeded, chopped
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Place bulgur in large bowl. Pour enough warm water over to cover generously. Let stand until bulgur softens, about 15 minutes. Drain well, pressing out excess water. Return bulgur to same large bowl.
Meanwhile, finely chop parsley, mint and green onions in processor. Add bulgur. Mix in tomatoes, then lemon juice, oil and cumin. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
I saw a few recipes that had chopped cucumber in them, so we added that to our tabbouleh. I thought it helped cut the parsley taste a little bit and I would definitely add them if I make this recipe again.
I can’t ever decide if I like tabbouleh or not. I always put a little on my plate, but it’s not something I would ever want to have a huge portion of. We made a double batch and took the leftovers to my friend David. He said it was really good, but I wasn’t sure if he was just being nice.
I love this picture of Crystal with the onions. It’s funny to me because she doesn’t even like raw onions, but she looks so happy to be chopping them. Maybe cutting onions makes her smile instead of cry.
There really isn’t a recipe for the next item we made. I watched my friend make it and decided I could be okay without exact measurements on this one. Basically, you cut up romaine or whatever lettuce you prefer. Put it in the salad bowl you are going to serve the salad in, and make a couple of rounds in a circle with canola oil and apple cider vinegar. Sprinkle in a little garlic salt, toss, and you’re done! I usually taste it and keep adjusting the ingredients until it tastes good. I know; I hate it when that’s the kind of recipe someone gives me! But try it – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
In case you’ve never had falafel before, I’ll show you how we assembled our pita sandwiches.
Open up the pita pocket and spread hummus inside of it. Take a couple of falafel balls and crush them up a bit with a fork or your finger. Then top it with the yummy vinegary salad. You could also use tomatoes, tahini sauce, and onions if you so desire, but I prefer to keep it simple.
If you happen to try any of these recipes, let me know what you think!