Monday, May 10, 2010


The first night Tyson and I were in New Zealand, we sat down to the most delicious meal prepared by Chef Caitlin. Included in the menu: Falafel. Caitlin had a package containing a greenish, dough-like substance that we rolled into balls and cooked in some oil over a flame. I'd had falafel before and bla bla, yep thought it was yum. But, I dunno, it wasn't really in my repertoire as a go-to thought for something to make or eat for dinner. It was spectacular that evening though, and we were officially hooked. Introducing Lisa's products of New Zealand = amazing. Taken from her website: "LISA'S Hummus started selling in plain pots labeled with blue felt tipped pen on the lids and whilst today's product might look somewhat smarter, the wholesome fresh quality of the hummus and dips remains true to the original from Lisa's home kitchen." She basically makes really incredible dips, hummus, toppings and also ready-to-cook falafel from fresh, whole ingredients.

While the obsession started with Lisa's varied range of hummus creations - including pumpkin and kumara with basil and chili, and also moroccan with chili, cinnamon and chopped prunes - we were really more concerned about the withdrawal affects of no access to her incredible falafel. It might actually be possible that we ate more falafel in New Zealand than we ate meat. Maybe. And we continually sought out great falafel all over Australia - so far, the best falafel I've ever tasted was from Byron Bay's Orgasmic Food. They don't lie.

We've been home a week and Tyson has nearly perfected a recreation of Lisa's jalapeno and lime hummus dip, so need to panic there. And on Thursday night I brought home what I believed to be THE falafel recipe to cure our longing. Turns out, it is perfection. Here's the link, but I'll also paste the recipe below:

Yield: Yield: About 20 balls
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
Tahina sauce
Pita bread

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.

5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.


Paired with Caitlin's Tabouleh recipe of which I'll have to post later, OR just some fresh, thin-sliced cucumber, feta, chopped tomatoes and a slathering of hummus in a wrap, you will not be sorry. In fact, you might be just a little more happy you're alive. I am.

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