Friday, August 12, 2011
My old friend from summer camp came over for another vegetarian meal this week (and a sleepover!). I love when she comes for dinner because it really makes me think outside the box and try new vegetarian recipes that I might not have otherwise. I was a vegetarian for 4 years when I was younger, but I never really experimented with recipes like I do now. The ability to search for interesting recipes on the blogosphere has made vegetarian cooking a lot more fun!
I learned yesterday from a coworker that there are 2 types of falafel, Israeli and Indian. I am accustomed to eating the Israeli kind - it's what they always served at one of my favorite sub shops growing up. They might have been Greek, but MAN they made good falafel. Then, when I went to Israel I finally tasted the Israeli falafel street food. It just might have been my favorite part of Isreal. Why America went for hot dogs instead of falafel is beyond me.
I digress... these burgers are the Indian type of falafel, hense the tumeric. I love the beautiful yellow color that the tumeric gives to these burgers. I left out the coriander because I don't like coriander/cilantro and therefore didn't have any. I didn't miss it at all - these still had tons of flavor - although I did add freshly ground pepper which it didn't call for.
I need to just take a minute here to talk about this tahini. I'd never bought tahini before, and I do NOT know why. It's like peanut butter, but with a sesame flavor. It's divine. I bought this at the Asian market, H-Mart, but I think you can find it in your regular grocer as well. Now I'm on a mission - what else can I make with tahini?
Tahini also went great with hot sauce - which leads me to the bargain of the day. Even though the sign isn't posted, Frank's Red Hot is on sale at Giant this week for $1.99 plus on coupons.com you can find a $0.50 off coupon (which Giant will double). Usually over $3 and this week you can get it for $1!
The verdict? They were approved by my camp friend. And me too! They have tons of subtle, warm flavors, complemented well by the nutty tahini paste and a little kick from the jalapeño and hot sauce. Although we ate them for dinner, they'd make a great lunch by the pool. We served them up with salad while enjoying the sunset over the Washington monument from my balcony - it was the perfect close to the day. While it was very different from the falafel on the streets of Tel Aviv, it tasted SO much healthier (not deep fried) and absolutely delicious.
From Jenna of Eat Live Run on PBS blog
1 15-oz can chickpeas
½ red onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of olive oil (divided)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup tahini
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 egg white
1. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, 2 tsp of olive oil, lemon juice and tahini. Blend well and scoop out into a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat up 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add the onions and jalapeno and sauté for about six minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute until toasty and fragrant. Add coriander and tumeric and mix well.
3. Add onion mixture to the chickpea mixture and stir well to combine. Add the salt, egg white and breadcrumbs and mix well.
4. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in the same skillet as before. Form patties with the chickpea mixture and fry for about three-four minutes per side, until golden and crunchy. Drain on paper towels.
5. Serve falafel burgers in warm whole wheat pitas with tahini sauce, hot sauce and sliced red onion.