By Wanjing Ji
If I have to choose one street food that I’m probably mostly addicted to it would have to be Falafel! Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, deep-fried balls basically made from ground chickpeas. They are commonly served in flatbread (as a wrap) or Pita bread (as a pocket or sandwich) with fresh and pickled vegetables, drizzled with tahini sauce.
I still remember the first time I had a Falafel – I nearly cried when I bit into the exotically spiced green soft texture inside the crispy balls. Since there are not many Middle Eastern restaurants around in China, and the basic ingredients are not difficult to get, why not try to make your own Falafel?
It takes only three steps to create this dish. 1. Falafel balls: Chickpeas are the only ingredient which may take you some time to find in the nearby market but yet convenient to buy online. Dried chickpeas taste infinitely better than the ones in cans, but the canned are much easier to get. It would be super helpful if you have a mixer; otherwise, it will take you a while to do the mashing. 2. Vegetable garnish and sauce: I let my fresh vegetables soak in white vinegar for some minutes, and I also mix my own sauce with Greek yogurt and Chinese sesame paste, etc. just because I don’t usually have any other things on hand. Feel free to add some pickled cucumber or any other sauce you like. 3. The wrap: I prefer to make fresh pita bread as a pocket for the Falafel. I also buy the tortillas in supermarket for a quick fix.
Make up some extra and keep them wrapped in tin foil to take away on a picnic or to work. Hope you’re gonna love this as much as I do.
For 12 Falafel balls:
Chickpeas: 150g dried, soaked in water overnight (or 400g from one can)
Half medium-sized onion, chopped
A bunch of coriander
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp olive oil and some salt
For garnish and sauce:
Sliced onion, pepper, carrot, cabbage, half soaked in white vinegar (or pickled cucumber or other pickled veggies from cans)
100g Greek yogurt (no sugar)
1 tbsp sesame paste
1 finely chopped garlic clove and coriander
Salt and pepper
1. Mix the chickpeas, coriander, onion, garlic, ground cumin, olive oil and salt in a blender. It’s better to keep a little texture. Use hands or a spoon to make small green balls. Deep fry in hot oil until the color turns golden/dark.
2. Mix the Greek yogurt with sesame paste, finely chopped coriander and garlic, then add salt and pepper.
3. Warm the wrap and put in tin foil (or cut the pita bread down the middle into two). Spread the sauce on the wrap evenly, add fresh/pickled veggies, place the Falafel balls in the middle, drizzle more sauce, roll up the wrap tightly, cut into two parts, hold to bite, enjoy!