Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Falafel with Turmeric-Tahini Sauce

Today I read an article that said we are “clean eating our way to a new eating disorder.” You know what that is? Bloody ridiculous. Everyone needs to take their intensity level down about 10 notches. Clean eating is supposed to be good for you- don’t go to hell with everything! Eating clean should make you feel well; it should help you eat a balanced diet in which you don’t stuff 5,000 grams of sugar down your gullet everyday. It should not be taken to an extreme in which you convince yourself you’re just “eating clean” while you whittle your calorie intake to 400 a day.

For example, all of a sudden people are using cauliflower for everything. What is that all about? I mean, I can handle the cauliflower macaroni and cheese thing, but today I saw a link for cauliflower steaks. I am down with meat replacement these days, as you know, but that seemed a little ridiculous.

Steak will only ever be steak. It is a delicious and wonderful thing. It is a treat, enjoy it once and a while as such. The end. Don’t try to make cauliflower be steak. That’s not fair to cauliflower. I’m not sure it’s even fair to steak. Just let food products be their own selves, and enjoy vegetarian cuisine for what it is. There are tons of delicious options that are celebratory of vegetables, legumes, and the flavours they have all on their own. Respect cauliflower for its cauliflower flavour. Eat clean, don’t give yourself a disorder about it, and have a poutine once and a while too. Let’s just all enjoy our lives and try not to be extreme in any kind of eating. It’s easy.
Falafel is one of my favourite vegetarian meals. I love it. So instead of trying to coerce vegetables into tasting like meat, try honouring the humble chickpea in something other than hummus.

Here we go.

My falafel recipe was adapted from the Food Network. It’s quite an ingredient list, but most of it you should have in the cupboard to begin with. You’ll also need a food processor for this recipe; although it’s possible a blender would work too, as long as you don’t go so far you end up with a chickpea smoothie. 

  • 1 can of chickpeas (unless you use dried, but then you may as well start making this 8 days before you want to eat it so you can soak your beans)
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped (I actually used a big scoop of jarred garlic/ginger puree) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Generous 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • Generous 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg (I replaced the egg with 1 tbsp of ground flax with 3 tbsp of warm water, soaked for 1 minute- this is a great replacement option for egg as a binder if you want a vegan option) 
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup flour for shaping patties
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions (Directly from the Food Network site- If I credit, it isn’t plagiarism, right?) 

In a food processor combine your chickpeas, shallot, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, parsley, cilantro, egg (or egg replacement), and lemon juice. Pulse to combine and season with salt. The mixture will not be smooth, but it should not have large chunks.

Add in the baking powder and 1/3 cup of the flour and pulse to just combine. Remove to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Remove the chickpea mixture from the refrigerator. Add enough oil to a large sauté pan so it reaches 1/2-inch up the sides and heat it over medium-high heat until an inserted thermometer reads 360 degrees F. (Ed.’s note: That’s from the Food Network. Just have enough oil in a pan that you aren’t deep-frying, but you’ve got enough to keep them from sticking. And who measures temperature of oil? No one. Just drop a small amount of the mix in and see if it sizzles right away. If not, the oil isn’t hot enough). 
Meanwhile, drop spoonfuls of the chickpea mixture onto a plate with ¼ cup flour. Roll into balls on the floured plate and press gently into patties. Fry in batches of hot oil for about 3 to 4 minutes each side and drain on paper towels.

I served mine with a beautiful turmeric-tahini sauce. You can also serve them in pitas with lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and pickled peppers.

Eat real food. Enjoy real food. That’s all you really need to know.