Rita’s Recipe: Jamie’s Falafel
Chickpeas are not mentioned specifically in the Bible, but we know they were a staple in the cuisine of that era.
Cultivation of the chickpea began so long ago that its original wild ancestor is now extinct. Chickpeas were a common bean across the Middle East during Bible days. They were grown in the hanging gardens of ancient Babylon. Even the Greeks of Homer’s day loved these beans in their daily meals.
Today the appetizer Falafel is popular, and this recipe from my friend and colleague, Jaime Carmody, is one of the best I’ve ever made. I’ve adapted it only slightly. Chickpeas contain lots of calcium, and we all know that garlic and onions are good for the heart. This is a healthy recipe, and sooo delish!
Makes 4 servings
- 1 ¼ cup Chickpeas (soaked overnight in room temperature water, or 3 cups cooked and drained, liquid reserved – can use canned)
- ½ cup flour (add a bit more if needed)
- 1 med White Onion (chopped)
- 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
- ¼ cup Flat Leaf Parsley (packed)
- 2 tsp Cumin (ground)
- ½ tsp Coriander (ground)
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper (ground)
- 1½ cup All Purpose Flour
- Vegetable Oil for Frying
- 4 Pita Bread
- 2 cups Iceberg Lettuce (shredded)
- 1 Tomato (cored & diced)
- ½ cup Tahini and
- Greek Yogurt (mix tahini with yogurt to your taste)
- Tzatziki sauce (check out my website Abouteating.com for a recipe)
Drain the chickpeas. Place in a food processor bowl and coarsely chop. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt baking soda, and cayenne pepper. Process until finely chopped. Place the mixture in a bowl and add the flour. Now if the mixture is too dry to form, add a bit of reserved liquid. With wet hands, form 4 patties, about 3 inches in diameter. Tip: When Jaime made these, she did as I do, just take a small scoop, about 1” in size or so and scoop up the falafel, place in hot oil and smoosh down a bit. That way you get lots more plus they fit into a quarter of a pita so well.
Fill a large nonstick skillet with 1/4” of the vegetable oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Fry the falafels on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Open one edge of the pita breads. Place a quarter of the lettuce and tomatoes in each. Place a falafel in each pita bread; Drizzle the falafel with some of the Tahini with yogurt dip and add a bit of Tzatziki if you like.
Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist, the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.
Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!
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