Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I falafel you ♥

Remember that episode of "How I met your mother" where Robin already knew she loved Ted, but just couldn't say it?  Instead, she said "falafel" -- simply because it's such a funny word.  Maybe words are not that important, as long as we manage to get the right message across?  And maybe it's perfectly fine to say "falafel" instead of "I love you" -- as long as the one you're saying it to doesn't think you're just suggesting a snack?  

Inspired by today's visit to the René Magritte museum, I thus repeat after the painter: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe." ...I mean: "Ceci n'est pas un falafel." (I hope you do get that in fact it is a falafel).

  Before & after soaking

Come to think of it, there are quite a few funny words Robin could have used instead of "falafel".  She could, for example, have said "I chihuahua you at first sight".  Or "I kerfuffle you with all my heart."  "I snickerdoodle you as much as you snickerdoodle me."  "Do you still knickerbocker me?" "I have been the happiest person on Earth since you told me that you bumblebee me.

OK, before you're left flabbergasted by all this gobbledygook and jabberwocky, I'm going to cut to the chase.

I've been a big fan of falafels since forever, and was on the lookout for a nice recipe which didn't involve deep-frying or adding a huge amount of fat.  This one (adapted from BBC Good Food) is a perfect fit!  The falafels are very delicious, not too fatty and perfectly spiced (in this respect you can just follow your own taste and add whatever you like). Though they are good on their own, I find they are at their best in a warm pita bread -- accompanied by a cucumber-tomato-red onion salad and drizzled with a lime-garlic-cilantro yoghurt sauce.

Try this out and you will find yourself saying: "I falafel you, falafel!"

  • 180 g (a bit less than a cup) of dried chickpeas (or one 400 g can)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • a large handful of fresh cilantro (chopped) 
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin + 1 tsp of ground cilantro (can be replaced by your favorite spices)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Soak the chickpeas overnight.  Rinse and cook until soft.  Blend or mash (I mashed using a fork).
  • Glaze the onion with a bit of olive oil.  Add to chickpeas, together with the egg, cilantro, garlic and spices.  Mix with a spoon or by hand.
  • Form small, round balls, flatten them in your hands and fry on a bit of hot olive oil until golden brown.
  • Serve with pita bread, vegetable salad (simply dice cucumber, tomatoes and red onion -- or any other veggies you have/like, add salt & pepper and fresh cilantro), and yoghurt sauce (the latter is crucial for great overall taste, as the falafel can be a bit dry without it.  Just mix some Greek yoghurt with minced garlic, lime zest and fresh cilantro).

Bon appetit!

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