One of the ways that American Jews celebrate Chanukah is by eating fried foods to remind us of the miracle of the oil from the Chanukah story. At least that is what we tell ourselves as we are eating laktes and other fried treats. Israelis eat sufganiyot, jelly donuts with or without holes. Another fun treat for our family is Falafel. Last year I made them and the little buggers wouldn’t stick together, they completely fell apart when I tried to fry them. This year, I didn’t have that problem at all. I found a new recipe that everyone loved.
Falafel with Yogurt Sauce
Taken from from Food Network, courtesy of Dave Lieberman. I made a few changes here and there but it is basically his recipe. Need to give credit where credit is due. You can find the original recipe here. (for some reason I can’t link to it but if you go to http://www.foodtv.com and search for falafel you should be able to pull it up)
- 1 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 3 to 4 tablespoons, plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup packed fresh dill leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork
- Salt and pepper
- olive oil, for frying
- pita bread (we like to use pocketless ones and roll them up like tacos)
- Sesame Mint Yogurt Sauce, recipe follows
- 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small head iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds
- In a food processor, combine the garbanzo beans, 3 to 4 tablespoons flour, dill, garlic, cumin, cayenne, egg, and salt and pepper.
- Pulse together until almost smooth.
- Transfer mixture to bowl.
- The mixture should be firm enough to form balls; if not, add additional flour as needed.
- Shape mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter. I flatten the balls out so that they are oblong patties rather than balls. This makes it easier to saute them rather than having to deep fry them.
- Toss in remaining 1/2 cup flour to coat all over.
- Set aside until oil is hot enough to fry
- Add olive oil to a medium sized skillet – once or twice around the pan. Just enough to cover the pan. I don’t deep fry them, but rather saute them.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat until about 375 degrees F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer here’s a way to tell if the oil is hot enough: put a drop of water in the oil it sizzles and sputters a bit. Don’t let the oil get too hot.
- Add falafel patties in batches so as not to crowd them and cook until crisp and golden on one side and then flip them over and cook on the other side. About 3 minutes per side.
- Carefully remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- Fill pita bread with a few falafel balls and toppings, then finish with yogurt sauce
Sesame Mint Yogurt Sauce:
- 1 7 ounce container plain whole-milk yogurt, preferably Greek-style
- 1 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped(despite it being December in NJ, we still have mint growing like crazy in the garden!)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced (I didn’t have regular lemons in the house, only Meyer lemons. I love the slightly sweet tangy taste they added)
- Salt and pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This sauce tastes delicious with latkes too!