Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Homemade Falafel and Israeli Salad With Tahini Yogurt Sauce

When I was in Israel for 8 weeks one summer during my high school years, I tasted some of the best falafel that I ever had.  One of the other things that I liked best about the cuisine in Israel (aside from the amazing giant Apricot fruit rolls that I discovered on Ben Yehuda Street that I have since been unable to find anywhere else in the world) was the basic Israeli Salad which was served with just about everything in Israel from falafel to schwarma.  I decided to create an Israeli meal with my own falafel, a tahini yogurt sauce and an Israeli salad to bring be back to those great memories of my summer in Israel.  The recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence's Recipe on the Food Network, while I added a traditional Israeli salad. I was concerned that the falafel balls would fall apart when they were fried so I added a bit water to the recipe below before forming the falafel balls (just about a tablespoon or two).  In addition, I used canola oil to fry them rather than vegetable oil, so they are actually a reasonably healthy treat.  These were served for brunch with our friends Alica and Alex, and were thoroughly enjoyed with a dessert of chocolate chip brioche (my recipe coming soon!)

2 cups dried chickepeas  (soak for 18 to 24 hours in cold water before using)
1 tsp baking powder
1 small onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, diced
1 T cumin
1 T coriander
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 handfulls fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 handfull fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
canola oil for frying
warm pita bread

Israeli Salad
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 heirloom tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 T lemon juice

Tahini Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup tahini (tahini is a type of sesame seed paste)
1/2 cup FAGE greek yogurt
1 T lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
pinch of salt
pinch of paprika

Put the chickpeas in a bowl and add water to cover by two inches.  Soak in cold water in the refrigerator for 17-24 hours.  The chickpeas will triple in size from their dried form.  Do not use canned garbanzo beans - I am told that your falafel will be soggy if you do.

Put the soaked chickepeas in a food processor and pulse to grind coarsely.  Add the other ingredients and mix well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Pur three inches of canola oil in a deep fryer or a large pot.  Roll the falafel into balls about the size of ping pong balls (this recipe should make about 24 falafel). If you have trouble forming balls that are cohesive, add a tablespoon of water to the mix. Fry until the chickpea balls are crusty brown on all sides and voila - its falafel.  Serve with the pita bread, tahini sauce and Israeli salad.



  1. these look delicious! How is canola oil healthier than vegetable oil? just curious...

  2. Simple but delicious recipe. Thanks. Can't wait for that brioche.


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