My Life On A Plate: Falafel
Since I decided to try life the pescatarian way, I've found meal times to be much more exciting. Although I spent a lot of time in the kitchen pre-prescatarianism, I'd often play it safe and cook things I've cooked a million and one times. Now, I'm experimenting with ingredients that wouldn't have ordinarily been in my cupboards 3 months ago, finding colourful and interesting ways to adapt recipes in order to fit in with my new lifestyle - and absolutely loving it.
With my passion for cooking seeing a new lease of life, I thought I'd try my luck at making something I've never made before but I actually really love: falafel. Falafel are a traditional vegetarian Middle Eastern street food that hit all the right notes for me. There are so many different ways to make them, so my advice is to just find which way works best for you. For this recipe, I used tinned chickpeas but you can substitute them for dry chickpeas or fava beans.
Happy falafel making!
Ingredients (makes 6-7 falafel)
1 400g can of chickpeas
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of coriander
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 egg beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Sunflower or vegetable oil
1. Finely chop the onion and the garlic, drain the chickpeas and leave to one side.
2. Heat the sunflower/vegetable oil in a pan then add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes until softened.
3. Transfer the onion and garlic into a mixing bowl then add the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, paprika, chilli flakes and two heaped tablespoons of flour, then mash together with a fork or potato masher. (I prefer a chunky consistency but if you like a smoother paste, use a blender.)
4. Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Add the beaten egg and mould the mixture with your hands into small balls. If the mixture is too wet, roll each ball into more flour as it will mould easier.
6. Freeze for 15 minutes to retain shape.
7. Heat some more sunflower/vegetable oil and fry the falafels on a low heat for 3 minutes each side until golden brown.
8. Place on a plate and blot the excess oil with kitchen roll.
9. Serve hot or cold with couscous, pitta bread, salad, or in a wrap. Eat and enjoy!
What are your favourite vegetarian snacks?