The first thing I tried in Mediterranean Cuisine was Falafel. Although I had tasted Falafel earlier in India, I liked it only after tasting it here in US - a more traditional version with Pita, Tzatiki dip, Humus, spicy red chutney and salad.
It's a good starter for any party. And recipe is very easy - read on to believe it.
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 40 minutes
1 Cup Chickpea/Garbanzo beans/Chole Chana
1 tablespoon Gram flour
1 tablespoon Corn Flour
1 tablespoon Coriander leaves/cilantro
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmuric powder
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 tsp crushed green chilis
1 tsp crushed ginger (optional)
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 small chopped onion
Salt to taste
for tempering (optional)
dried red chilis
coarsely crushed groundnuts.
Soak Chick peas for atleast 18 hours. You can also buy boiled garbanzo tins from the market. Remove the water from the peas and then crush them - not too fine or too coarse. Add all the other ingredients and mix well to form a batter.
Now prepare the tempering. Tempering is totally optional. Authentic falafel doesn't have tempering. I am just giving it an Indian touch by adding Indian spices, ground nuts and sesame seeds tempering. Add the tempering to the batter.
There are two options to make falafel : deep fry or bake.
To Deep fry: heat oil, make small ice-cream scoop sized balls from the batter and try frying 1 ball first. If it falls apart, add little corn flour. Fry until golden brown in color. Drain on paper towel.
To Bake: preheat the oven at 350 degree F. Take a deep baking tray. Slightly brush with oil and place the balls in the tray a little apart from each other. Cover the tray with a aluminum foil. Allow them to bake for 20-25 minutes. I like to use the cup cake tray for baking. After around 20-25 minutes, flip the falafel and place them again uncovered for another 20 minutes or so until they are properly cooked and golden brown in color.
Serve with Tzatiki, salad and/or with pita pockets.