Friday, May 04, 2007

Falafel

For my lunch today, I brought a homemade version of something that I have been really stirred up on ever since that trip to Savannah, and that's falafel. Prior to my trip, the only falafel that I had ever tried before came from the freezer section of a health food store and it was absolutely horrible. I had to spit it out into the garbage because I couldn't even eat it. I don't remember what the brand name was but it was absolutely disgusting. So I thought that I didn't like falafel. Eating falafel in that Middle Eastern restaurant in Savannah though, showed me that I actually LOVE falafel, and it was just the frozen stuff that wasn't worth a flip.

Shortly after I got back from my trip, I made some homemade falafel using a recipe that I found online. It was pretty simple. It didn't come out anywhere near as tasty as that from the restaurant though. So I've continued looking. Then melanie, a local blog reader and soap maker extraordinaire, informed me in the comments section that one of the local health food stores actually carried falafel mix in the bulk section. I had been meaning to get by there and get some of that stuff so I could try it, but when I stopped at the Indian grocery the day before yesterday, I found a box of falafel mix there that looked like it would be really authentic (i.e. it had words on the box that were not in English). So I bought it and last night I actually got around to making it. It was easy. All I had to do was mix some of the falafel mix with water, let it soak a little while, then pat it out into little balls or patties and then cook them. I wanted to go easy on the fat so I baked them rather than fry them.

To go with the falafel I brought some pita bread, some lettuce, tomato & cucumber, and some homemade hummus. You know, hummus is my favorite snack food now and I am getting pretty dang good at making it, if I do say so myself. Especially now, with that new Blendtec Home Total Blender, I can make the creamiest, most delicious hummus that I have ever had. Of course, what would you expect when you blend hummus up with a 3 horsepower motor. HA! I briefly thought about just using pure tahini as my condiment, but I decided not to (again, the fat, you know).

This turned out really well, but it's still not as good as what I had in that restaurant. Of course, I may never be able to recreate the taste of real falafel made by an actual man from the Middle East, but I can keep trying. I am thinking that his recipe may have been a little different than what I have tried so far. For example, based on texture, I am almost positive that his falafel had bulgur wheat in it. I have seen a few falafel recipes online that contain it, so perhaps I need to try one of those next. At any rate, this falafel from the mix is nothing I would turn my nose up at. It's pretty tasty, it's just not as amazing as I want it to be.

Not that it matters, but I had to do a little rearranging of the lunchbox right after I snapped this photo so that everything would fit. I actually brought four balls of falafel, not just three like shown in the picture, but I couldn't fit them all into that small container. So after the picture was taken, I actually put two of the falafel balls under the pita bread (there was tons of room there) and left the other two in the little container. So it IS possible to fit all of this into the lunchbox, just not exactly like I arranged it there to make a pretty picture.

So thanks for reading my blog this week. I'll see you guys on Monday.

Have a great weekend!
LETTUCE, TOMATO & CUCUMBERHUMMUSPITA BREADFALAFELFORK & SPOON

6 comments:

julie hasson said...

Your falafel lunch looks great Kenny!

I am now officially blending with the Blendtec, and see exactly what you've been raving about. I also love that it fits so well on my counter. I'm doing some cooking demos with it, so if you have any tips, let me know. By the way, I love your tip about adding the sesame seeds to the blender first, before the beans for hummus. I definitely prefer the taste of freshly toasted seeds to store-bought tahini.

Julie

Anonymous said...

I just found out about your blog and have been reading it the past few days. It's great! I can't believe there's another human out there who loves vegan pizza quite as much as myself. You're lunches always look really tasty; I'd choose the same things myself.

--Michelle

Okra Mary said...

I made the fantastic foods falafel mix one time and it was TERRIBLE! WAy way way too much salt. Just wanted to warn you considering it seems to be the most widely available mix in grocery stores.

The best falafels I've had came from restaurants, too. And this place http://www.maozveg.com/

Their falafels are sooo good! We don't have any here in VA, but I used to eat there all the time during a month I spent in Philly. If you ever see one, you HAVE to try it.

Lady Di said...

I got my Veg Journal, and the front of it is Falafels! You might want to get it if you can. I did not know that some falafels are made with broad beans (fava), I thought they were always chickpea. And they list the nutrition for fried or baked. Anyway the list of recipes:

Tahini salad (tomatoes,cucumber, scallions, etc with tahini sauce)

Broad Bean Falafel
Chickpea Falafel
White Bean Falafel
Soybean Falafel
Rice Falafel
Lentil Falafel
Corn Falafel
Bulgur Falafel

I can't wait to try some of these! If I had gotten it earlier, I'd do the Corn Falafel's for tomorrow for Cinco De Mayo (which is also a section with recipes).

kennyboy said...

Yeah julie! I'm glad you got one and like it. Drinking green smoothies every day is really helping with my health (blood pressure in particular). I can't wait to try out all of the other uses though.

Glad to have another pizza addict on board michelle. WELCOME!

Thanks for the warning okra mary because I have almost purchased that several times. I really like some of their products, and really dislike others. Thanks for the heads-up on that one, although I might accidentally like it since I'm a salt addict. I certainly don't need that though.

I'm not familiar with veg journal lady di. I need to do some searching and see what it is. If it's all about falafel, then I'm certainly interested.

:o)

Amy said...

This is so weird. I was looking for a recipe for baked falafel using falafel mix and came across your post. But what is weird is that I live in Savannah and frequent the Middle Eastern restaurant. I didn't enter Savannah into my search...it was just a coincidence. Anyway, I am going to bake the falafels in a bit. Believe it or not, I've never had the falafels at Ali's restaurant (he's the owner, and he is awesome), but I am having such a craving for them now. I'll have to check out the rest of your site. I'm not a vegetarian, but I think I must've been in a previous life, because I gravitate toward vegetarian cuisine. Maybe I should look into it|!