Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I get a serious craving for falafel about once a month. I rarely make it at home because when the craving hits I need it right there and then but I do whip some up for some casual dinner parties every once and while. If you live in San Francisco, you must visit King of Falafel to get your quick fix. This place is the real deal. Finding good falafel is like finding a good dry cleaner. Once you've found it, you stick with it.
1 lb dried chick peas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic crushed 1 lg onion finely chopped 1/3 c fresh parsley chopped 1 tsp ground coriander seeds 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2 c. water vegetable oil for deep-frying 7 pita bread, tops cut off 1 head lettuce, coarsely chopped 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped 7 sm sweet pickles, sliced
Sesame Sauce, recipe follows
Hot Sauce, recipe follows

In a food processor or blender, grind the soaked chick peas. Add the garlic, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, salt, and baking soda mixture. Process until smooth. In a large, wide pot, heat oil to a depth of 3 inches until very hot, but not smoking. With a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, form the falafel mixture into balls the size of golf balls, using a flat knife or spatula to smooth out the scoop. Carefully slide the falafel into the oil. Continue shaping falafel and adding them to the oil, but do not crowd the pot. Cook the falafel until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until golden brown all over, about 3 minutes more. Remove the falafel from the pot with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or paper bags. Keep warm while continuing to fry the falafel until all the mixture is used. To serve as a sandwich: Place 4 falafel balls in the pocket of one pita. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the sesame sauce and 1 tablespoon hot sauce (to taste) over the falafel. Add some of the lettuce and tomato, a drizzle more of the two sauces, and top with a pickle. Continue assembling the remaining falafel.

To serve as hors d'oeuvre: Make a dipping sauce of 2
parts sesame sauce and 1 part hot sauce. Place a bowl of the sauce in the center of a platter lined with lettuce leaves. Fry and drain the falafel, skewer each with a toothpick, arrange around the dipping sauce and serve. Makes 7 sandwichs or 35 individual hor d'oeuvres Sesame Sauce: 1 c. tahini paste 1 clove garlic, crushed juice of 1 lemon 1/4 c. cold water 1/4 tsp. salt dash of black pepper Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Hot Sauce 1 1/2 c. tomato sauce 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes 1/4 tsp. salt dash of black pepper Combine all the ingredients in a non-reactive small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces slightly and thickly coats the back of a spoon, 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Serve. Makes 1 1/2 cups.


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