Thursday, August 28, 2008

Falafel Pitas/Sandwiches

Even though this recipe did not turn out perfect, my mouth is watering looking at the pictures. Believe me, I ate every single bite, down to the crumbs. Then I had another falafel by itself, with a bit of relish and yogurt on top. Mm, mm, good.

Why wasn't it perfect? Well, I overbaked the falafels and dried them out. I doubled the bake time, as they wern't looking brown, as the recipe called for. Beware, they may be done before they're brown! However, their taste was still excellent. When I give it another try, I'll make an update with my findings. Was it truly me? Or is it the recipe? I'm pretty sure it's me.

The other problem we encountered was our pita. It completely fell apart on us and ripped everywhere as we were trying to stuff the pockets. Ugh. Next time, I'm going to look for some mediterannean flatbread instead. More pliable, and probably less dry. (It's what they use in the "Baked Falafel Sandwich" recipe linked at the bottom, and looks delicious.)

Can you see all the rips in back? This was a messy dinner!

Overall though, making your own falafel is pretty fun. I always wanted to try it. We have a lot of Turkish immigrants in Germany (more in Berlin than Munich), and I used to have a falafel sandwich everyday when I was taking German classes in town. Soooo good. The shop I went to made their own bread, fresh everyday (sigh). Oh, it was wonderful.

If you want to focus on the falafels and not make the sauces/relishes, no worries. Do as my falafel shop did in Munich... mash a couple falafel balls into your pita bread, add a couple slices of tomato on top, a handful of chopped lettuce, a dash of red pepper flakes and a heaping drizzle of plain greek style yogurt. Done! And delicious.

Falafel Pitas
adapted from Cooking Light

1 16 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (6-inch) whole wheat pita, torn into large pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 large egg whites
Cooking spray

2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato
1 cup chopped seeded English cucumber
1/4 cup chopped green onions (I left these out)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 serrano chile, minced (I used red pepper flakes)

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft (log-style) goat cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 small garlic clove, minced

Remaining ingredient:
4 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, halved

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine 1 cup chickpeas (You will not need the remainder in the can. Refrigerate and use as part of tomorrow's salad!) and next 11 ingredients (through 2 chopped garlic cloves) in a food processor; pulse 8 to 10 times or until finely chopped. Spoon mixture into a bowl.

Add egg whites to chickpea mixture, and stir well. Let stand 15 minutes. Divide mixture into 16 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Place patties on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350º for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. * Be careful not to overbake, as they will dry out.

To prepare relish, combine tomato and next 5 ingredients (through chile).

To prepare sauce, combine yogurt, goat cheese, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 minced garlic clove, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Place 2 falafel patties in each pita half; spoon about 1/3 cup relish and 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce into each pita half. Serve immediately.

Additional falafel recipes:
* After reading hundreds of blogs, I feel like I have seen the good and the bad. The idea of adding additional recipes to the bottom of my posts came from Dine & Dish, a wunderbar (wonderful) food blog. It was an 'ah ha!' moment where I knew, it was going to add fun, more information and depth to my posts. How cool is Kristen to think it up? I hope she doesn't mind me copying her. I look up to her immensely.

Guten appetit!

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