Daily Recco, June 11: Falafel, the street food that has songs in its honour
On International Falafel Day tomorrow (June 12), try making this popular Middle Easter cutlet that has songs written in its honour!
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For a dish that is more an emotion than just food in some countries, there has to be a dedicated day. Tomorrow (June 12) is International Falafel Day. It is a day for falafel lovers to come together and celebrate their love for the chickpeas patties. It is also to encourage the falafel-newbies to give it a try.
For the uninitiated, falafel is a deep-fried cutlet made with ground chickpeas. Chickpeas can be substituted with fava beans, but the most common versions are made with ground chickpeas, onions and spices. Eat it as is, or feel free to stuff it in a pita and have it as a wrap. This rich source of protein (all thanks to chickpeas) is a favourite of vegans across the world.
(Photo: Getty Images)
It is a staple dish in Middle Eastern, Egyptian and Israeli cuisine and popular street food. You will find falafel served in the Middle Eastern street corner joints with a generous dollop of tahini sauce. So popular is the dish, in fact, that falafel has songs written in its honour. Sample this one by the Israeli singer named Nisim Garame:
The opening lyrics translate roughly to:
Every country in the world has a national dish that is familiar to everyone
And every child in kindergarten knows that the macaroni is Italian
For Austrians in Vienna it is delicious schnitzel
The French eat frogs, the Chinese eat thin rice
The cannibals eat each other
And we have falafel, falafel, falafel...
Clearly, falafel is not just food, but an emotion!
A Palestinian man receives his batch of falafel at a vendor in the city of Hebron, during Ramzan. (Photo: Getty Images)
Today, we tell you how to make it in the comfort of your kitchen, because prudence lies in staying at home and not venturing to a restaurant to sample the falafel.
What you’ll need:
Half a cup of chickpeas (soaked in water overnight)
A tablespoon of plain flour (maida)
One clove of garlic, chopped
One tablespoon of sesame paste
Half a teaspoon cumin powder
A dash of black pepper
Half a teaspoon ginger, peeled and shredded
One medium-sized onion, chopped
Half a teaspoon of coriander powder
Two tablespoons of coriander leaves, chopped
A quarter cup of breadcrumbs
A cup of vegetable oil for frying
Have it by itself, or stuff in pita bread to make a wrap. (Photo: Getty Images)
Boil the soaked chickpeas for about 10 minutes and simmer for an hour.
Mash the boiled chickpeas and mix it with the onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seed paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, flour, salt, pepper.
In a food processor, blend this mixture and bread crumbs. The bread with help hold the mixture and soak any extra moisture. Finally, add the chopped coriander.
Make small balls of the doughy mixture. Slightly flatten them using your palms. This will form your cutlets.
In a kadhai, heat oil on medium flame. Once the oil is hot enough, fry the cutlets until they are crisp and golden brown in colour. Remember to not fry on high flame as the outside will get browned but the insides remain uncooked.
When the cutlets are golden-brown, remove from the oil, drain the excess oil on absorbent paper and serve.
You can have the falafel with any dip of your choice.