Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Falafel for the Third

Guest Blog by Carolyn

Last night we celebrated the fact that it was a Tuesday and we didn't have to go to work the next day. We have the mid-week Fourth to thank for that. Anyway, Tuesday is climbing night and we had a couple non-regulars joining us for climbing and some delicious falafel afterwards. I developed my love for falafel when I was living in Denmark. Yes, I know that falafel isn't a Danish food. But when you are paying 42 kroner (7 dollars) for a beer on a student's budget, you quickly discover that the scattered Turkish Shwarma Houses are your best bet for cheap tasty food.

Sean's Falafel and Cucumber Sauce

adapted from

Original recipe yield:
6 servings


2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 eggs
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
1 dash pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dry bread crumbs
oil for frying
2 (6 ounce) containers plain yogurt
1 cucumber - peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
fresh dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons mayonnaise


1) In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; don't use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process celery, parsley, cilantro, and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.

2) In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed. Form 12 balls and then flatten into patties.

3) Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides.

4) In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

5) Serve with chopped tomato and lettuce on flatbread or pita.

I made the patties and the yogurt sauce before climbing and placed them in the refrigerator. Everyone was starving by the time we got back, so it was nice to toss the falafel in the frying pan, grab a beer, and eat. John has a fierce hate of onions so I substituted the onions with celery. I think it turned out really well. The celery added a little bit of crunch without overpowering all the flavor from the fresh herbs. Cilantro was not originally part of the recipe, but it was growing like crazy in my garden and I couldn't think of a good reason not to throw it in.

Georgia swore that my falafel was better than any she had eaten at any Shwarma House. Luke also approved and it is always hard to read what John is thinking. But by the end of the evening, the falafel was gone, and we found out everything you ever needed to know about potato guns. All in all, a quality way to spend the Third of July.


Georgia said...

Carolyn - This falafel was awesome! It definitely better than what I've had in NYC. Keep up the great cooking - as long as I keep getting to do great eating.

sher said...

Wonderful! I haven't had falafel in some time--and this makes me think I need to make some...quick!

SteamyKitchen said...

I know you're working on your photography skills- I can tell through the posts that you're getting better.
Here are some tips-
-No flash - move to the window to get natural light
-watch where your shadows fall - make sure the shadows aren't in the middle of the shot...keep shadows on the outside, which means moving light source or just turning the table.
-Go to Staples and get a white foam cardboard sheet. Its $3.50 a sheet. put your plate on the sheet to shoot. This does helps with lighting reflection and provides a nice clean background.
-Keep whatever you are focusing on in the middle of the shot. Re: depth...if the subject is too fuzzy in the foreground, you'll get dizzy looking at the photo

That my advice! good luck and you are doing great.

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