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Middle Eastern Falafel Plate

Chef Ami Hassan,

Falafel Place

Falafel is a popular street food all over the Middle East and Mediterranan. Chef Ami’s mixture of herbs and spices gives this recipe its robust flavour. Make a lighter version by baking instead of frying the eggplant and falafel and serve on a mixed green salad with hummus, hot sauce and pita bread. 

Ingredients

Falafel

1 heaping cup dried chickpeas

5-6 scallions, trimmed

2-4 medium garlic cloves

2 cups packed chopped cilantro, parsley and mint leaves, equal parts

1 tsp fine sea salt, plus more for serving

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

3/4 tsp baking powder

2-3 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Eggplant

1 eggplant

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

Method

Falafel

  1.  Rinse chickpeas then place into a large bowl and submerge by 4 inches of cool water. Cover and soak overnight or until the beans triple in size. Drain, rinse and pat dry or transfer to a salad spinner to spin dry.
  2.  Add chickpeas, scallions, garlic, herbs, salt, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, black pepper and baking powder to a food processor. Pulse mixture until finely minced but not puréed, scraping the bowl down as necessary. You should be able to press a handful together and have it hold its shape. It will be loose and a little crumbly. 
  3.  Transfer mix to a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to help the balls hold together when cooking. If making ahead, you can refrigerate the mixture for a few days.
  4.  Use a Tbsp or small cookie scoop to create 1 1/2 Tbsp portions. Gently shape into a ball and place onto a plate. Repeat until mixture is all formed.
  5.  Rest falafel balls in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes before cooking. The mix will not act like dough, but will hold its shape. 
  6.  Add 3/4 inch of oil to a deep saucepan. Turn to medium-high and heat between 350 and 375° F.
  7.  Fry in batches, placing falafel gently and without crowding, until they are browned on the bottom sides. Using two forks, flip falafel to brown other side, 3 1/2–4 minutes total.
  8.  Transfer falafel to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. 
  9.  Serve immediately with sides.

Eggplant

  1.  Cut eggplant into 1 cm cubes.  
  2.  Toss in salt and let sit for 1/2 hour. Drain.
  3.  Cook in oil until tender, about 8 minutes.

Yield 4-6 servings

FALAFEL PLACE

Owner Ami Hassan has been serving meaty pitas, spicy baba ghanoush, and, true to its name, falafels for more than 30 years. The always-bustling diner is a favourite in its…

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