The luck I’ve been having in the kitchen lately, has not carried over into amazing photos, sadly. It’s difficult to take decent photos at 9:30pm (when we ate dinner the other night) with only low wattage bulbs for illumination. At least the food was amazing….Cornelius told me that we should eat this more often. I obliged since we had leftovers and we ate this meal twice in a row. I heard no complaints.
I love Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. This city has a couple really great restaurants, but when I can make my favorite dish at home, it’s even better. Now, I would love to tell you how I made my own falafels from scratch…not so. But I’m okay with that because I’m pretty satisfied with the ones I get from a mix. I’m not going to mess with a good–and totally easy thing.
The instructions below are less of a recipe and more of a general how-to. It’s a falafel plate, not an opera cake. And yes, I tackle “deep frying” for the first time. Actually, this isn’t really a deep fry, per se, but more of a shallow frying method. The falafels aren’t submerged into the oil, nor do they even float about, but I used more oil cooking these babies than I’ve ever used to cook anything. And trust me, it’s a good thing. I’ve baked falafels and cooked them using only a spoonful of oil but have never been truly satisfied with the results. Frying in oil is really the only way to make them jaw-droppingly good. Crispy, crunchy and light in texture, they aren’t greasy either–just make sure your oil is hot and you won’t go wrong.
falafel plate how-to
diced purple onions
diced tomato, seeded
a dill pickled, sliced thinly
sprinkle of sumac
hot sauce (optional or necessary, depending)
1/2 box falafel mix
canola oil (lots but not too much)
2 heaping spoonfuls of tahini
3/4 c plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 small lemon
1. Start by preparing falafel mix according to package directions. Let it sit for at least 1 hour. Shape into small patties. Set aside.
2. Make the sauce by combining tahini, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice together. Too thick? Add water to thin down sauce. Set aside.
3. Prepare vegetables. Wash, dry and tear lettuce if need be. Grate carrots. Chop tomatoes. Dice onion. Slice pickles. Have your feta crumbled and ready. Place ingredients in individual bowls.
4. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a heavy cast iron skillet or whatever pan you’ve got, heat up enough oil so that it freaks you out by just how much oil you used….I’d say about 1/2 inch deep. Let it get hot. Start by adding in the falafel patties and flip them when they get all crispy and brown. Place fried patties on baking sheet and put into oven so that the falafels stay hot while you prepare the rest of the batch.
5. Place lettuce on your plate. Sprinkle with grated carrot, tomatoes and onion. Place a few falafels on top and drizzle with tahini sauce. Add some more tomatoes, pickles and feta cheese and top the whole thing off with a sprinkle of sumac. Squirt on some hot sauce, if using. Dig in.