Saturday, January 30, 2010

Falafel With Pita and Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

I have found that one of the ways to economize whilst cooking is to prepare vegetarian recipes. I used to think this meant that you just used more cheese. Now I use beans and try to come up with as many ways as I can to disguise them, so that my family doesn't know that we're eating beans three times a week. Today, I will be sharing my recipe for falafel, pita and yogurt sauce.


1 15oz can of Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 bunch of cilantro
1 1/2 small or 1 large onion(s)
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 large lemon
1 large egg
Sea Salt
All purpose flour
1 Cup Plain Yogurt
2tsp or 1 package fast acting yeast
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Canola Oil (for frying)
Warm water
Fresh chopped tomatoes for garnish
Peeled sliced cucumber or shredded lettuce for garnish

If this seems like a lot of ingredients, remember, this is for the whole meal!
I rarely use recipes, unless it's the first time I've made the dish. The amounts you see in the pictures are tripled to feed my large family and have (yum) leftovers.

Let's get started!

Turn on your oven to it's highest setting without it being on broil (about 500 degrees Fahrenheit). If you have a pizza stone, this is the perfect tool for making pita bread. If not, you can use a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet or pizza stone in center of oven and leave it in while the oven heats up.

I do all of the chopping at the same time and set it aside.
Start with the onions. Chop 1/2 small onion into large chunks and put into the blender. Cut remaining onion into small dice. Put half into a small bowl for garnish. The other half will be put into a medium bowl for the yogurt sauce.

Coarsely chop half of the bunch of cilantro. Place into the blender with the onion. Fine chop the other half of the bunch, discarding the stems, and place into the medium bowl for the yogurt sauce.
Slice your cucumbers and dice your tomatoes, and set aside.

Empty the can of garbanzo beans, including the liquid, into the blender. Add the garlic clove, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and 1 large egg. Pulse until mixture is smooth.
Then empty it into a large mixing bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of flour, and mix with a spoon. Add flour until mixture has the same texture as muffin dough.
Fill a large pan about two fingers high with canola oil.
Set mixture aside and heat oil on medium high heat.

You are now ready to make the dough for your pita. Remember to remove your rings. This gets messy!
In a large bowl, combine, 1 1/4 cups warm water, 2 tsp yeast, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, and 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Whisk to combine. Add flour by 1/2 cups until dough consistency resembles play dough. Knead for 2 minutes. Set aside in an oiled bowl, and let rest.

Your oil should be ready to go. Drop batter by spoon fulls into hot oil.
When they've browned on one side, turn them over. When both sides are browned, remove from oil and let drain on paper towel.

The oven should be hot enough now to start baking the pita. On a well floured surface, shape dough into golf ball size pieces and set aside to rest. When all of the dough is in little balls, roll them flat, on one side and the the other. Set aside. make sure you have plenty of flour on your disks so that they don't stick to one another.
Place into oven, and let bake 4 minutes on first side and the flip over and bake 2 minutes on the second side.

Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes on top of the stove. Then place into a Ziplock bag, or tea towel to sweat. If you don't let them cool a bit, they will melt your bag!

You should still be frying falafel...

Add 1 cup yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp sea salt to the bowl containing the onions and cilantro.
When your falafel is finished frying, and the bread is finished baking, you're ready to eat!
Give yourself a pat on the back, and look at how much flour is covering your front!