Hello world

Felafel

I slept for close to 16 uninterrupted hours last night. A new personal best. Now that my night shifts have finished I'm looking forward to rejoining the real world. Work during gentlemanly hours, lunch during daylight, no physiological drops in core body temperature to herald the three-quarter point of my shift — it's going to be good. I've also been lucky that my return to normality seems to have coincided with a boost in the weather. It's springtime down here, and while we've oscillated between downpour and lovely, I have a feeling that things are about to hit their sunny stride.

To commemorate spring I made green, broad-beany falafel. I don't know why it took my so long to make falafel a second time. The first time it worked out perfectly — crisp on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. Hearty enough to make a meal on its own, and of course perfect as an economical vegetarian filling for pita bread. They were tasty this time as well, but I think the recipe could do with some small adjustments. Apparently making falfel with cooked beans is a recipe for disaster (too much moisture for deep frying), but perhaps incorporating some cooked chickpeas into the soaked bean mixture would boost up the creamy/nutty factor and soften the slightly raw edge these falafel had. I'll keep you informed.

I served these simply, with cucumber, tomato, and some sauces. For kick there was everyone's favourite sriracha, and for relief a tahini yoghurt sauce made from mixing tahini, greek yoghurt, lemon juice, salt, ground cumin, and a little olive oil. The exact amounts escape me but go ahead and experiment — it's really more of an art than a science.

Falafel

Recipe inspired by and almost an exact replica of this felafel recipe from Buffalo Buffet (now One Big Kitchen).

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of dried broad beans, soaked overnight
  • 1.5 cups of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup of fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of spring onion (scallion), chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • Vegetable/peanut oil for shallow frying

1. Remove the skins from the broad beans. If a couple are hard to remove and the bean is too tough to pierce with a sharp knife, throw it away.
2. Place all the ingredients except for the oil into a food processor and process until finely ground. The result should have the consistency of finely minced garlic and stay together when pressed into a ball. Don't stress out of there are a few slightly larger chunks on bean in there.
3. Heat 1-2 inches of oil in a heavy pot to medium-high heat. You'll need to experiment with what heat works for you, but it should take about a minute each side for the falafel to brown. Shape the felafel1, and cook in batches in the hot oil. Cook for a minute on each side, then remove to drain on kitchen paper and keep warm to serve.

(1) It's up to you how you shape these. In the middle eat there is actually a little mechanical device designed to shape felafel, or you could use the devices at the ends of your arms to form them into rounded patties about an inch thick. I used a two-spoons quenelle technique because it's mess-free and easy once you're used to it. Either way, just make sure your falafel are firmly formed together so they don't fall apart in the hot oil.

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