Falafel in Pitas

I've been petitioning the Secret-Secret Geography Club to do Lebanese food and it still hasn't happened yet. Instead of waiting to try Lebanese with the group I decided to go ahead and make it at home with a popular dish called falafel. I'm sure a lot of people have tried this dish before, but can you believe I hadn't? I did a little bit of research and found that not only is falafel a Lebanese dish, but also an Egyptian dish. The Egyptian variation makes their falafel's from fava beans instead of chick peas. I think because falafel is usually offered as the vegetarian variation at restaurants that sell pitas, I had the idea that it was also Greek (FYI: it's not). I served my falafel's in pitas with tzaziki sauce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce, but to be truly Middle Eastern there should have been pickles instead of cucumbers, hot peppers and a sauce made of tahini paste and lemon juice instead of tzaziki. I plan to try that someday, but for now my Meditteranean spin was quite tasty. That's a good way to try new foods that are foreign to you...have a few elements that you are familiar with and the whole "new" food experience won't seem so scary.

Recipe from Evelyn/Athens at Recipezaar

Serves 4
1 can chick peas
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 roasted red pepper, jarred
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp water

Vegetable oil

1 cucumber, cut into thin slices
1 tomato, cut into thin slices and then into half moons
Lettuce, sliced

Place falafel ingredients in a food processor and blend until mealy.

In a large pot or deep fryer, heat vegetable oil over medium heat to about 375-400 degrees. Scoop out some of the chick pea mixture and roll into walnut-sized balls. I flattened mine slightly so that they cooked better in the oil. Continue to roll falafel balls. When oil is up to temperature drop 4 balls or so into the oil at a time. If you add too many at one time the temperature of the oil will drop too much and they will become really greasy. Cook in the oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Continue rolling and dropping in the hot oil until all the falafel balls are cooked and crispy.

Serve them hot inside pitas with sliced cucumber, tomato, lettuce and drizzle on tzaziki sauce.

Click here for printable version of Falafel in Pitas.

The flavor of the falafel is awesome. I was once again surprised how something that contained absolutely no meat tasted really meaty. I loved these and can't wait to try a more traditional version now.