I have my older brother to thank for introducing me to falafel when I was in high school. Based upon our dietary preferences, one would never guess we sprang forth from the same womb but falafel is one thing we can both heartily agree upon! The town where we grew up had basically one delivery option – pizza. When I visited him when I was in high school, his university town was a food mecca. The array of international food options even at midnight was vastly more than our entire town had at any hour. I loved to visit him for spring breaks because it allowed me to experiment with meals beyond the cultural experience from my own little Midwest town and fueled my interest in a wide variety of creative ethnic cooking, ingredients and eating. Thanks brother!
Yesterday, I had a hankering for falafel. I hunted through my pantry and low and behold. NO CANNED CHICKPEAS *Gasp*!!! I wanted falafel and I didn’t want to deal with the whole process of soaking and cooking chickpeas. Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to cook the beans too – ya know? Upon my mad hunt thrice through the pantry to look for the chickpeas I was sure I had, I came across a can of fava beans I had purchased earlier this fall. This can conjured up memories of being in Falafel King. They had these beans in their little grocery store and I thought – A Ha! a great substitution for my chickpeas and it was. I was a little amazed when I took them out of the can. I had forgotten how big Fava beans are. They remind me of Jack and the Bean Stalk beans.
1 can of Fava beans rinsed
3 cloves of garlic
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs. flour
1 tsp salt
a few grinds of black pepper
handful of fresh parsley
1/2 of a medium onion minced (I grind the above minus the onion in the food processor and then mix everything in a bowl). I don’t like my onion to get juiced or pulverized by the processor.
safflower or canola oil for frying
tahini sauce (tahini, lemon, garlic, water, salt and cayenne) or hummus
chopped pickle – optional
Process all ingredients (except onion). Mix together in a bowl and refrigerate for a few hours.
Form mixture into golf balls and flatten to 1/2 inch or so
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan medium high. Put your patties in the pan and fry them until golden brown – 3 minutes or so on each side. Drain on paper towels. I keep mine warm in the oven at 350 on parchment while I put together the fixins.
This makes enough for about two people – or one really hungry one and half a pita as a snack later.