Friday, 29 July 2011

Fabulously Full on Falafel

I’ve got some news; it’s almost August.

I know! I was just settling into July and then I looked at the calendar. I haven’t even remotely reached that goal weight; saved that money or done all the cool stuff I’d planned to have done by the end of July. And after August there’s September and we’re seriously getting into autumn territory by then so my planned summer bikini-body, might have to go up a size. Shucks.

Well, faced with that sort of reality I suppose there would be nothing wrong now with having a little bit of that whole almond, dark chocolate I squirreled away in the fridge earlier. Dark chocolates good for you, we all know that.

Yesterdays lunch was very healthy too, even though we all ate too much of it and felt like sleeping for the rest of the day. Falafel is a huge crowd pleaser, requires many tasty, fun and easy-to-do side dishes and is great for the budget.

So there we go; healthy food for that bikini-body (or tankini-body, up to you), saving money and cool fun to do… see! All my goals for August right there in a Pitta bread.

I’m trying to think positively.

Falafel is a vegetarian meatball made with chic-peas. And as George Clooney said in that episode of ‘Friends’; ‘God bless the chic-pea’.

They are the tastiest little dumplings, truly very easy to make and versatile enough that you can play with the ingredients to suit what’s in your fridge. You could add spinach, extra chilli, grated courgette, some chopped apricots etc.

And most importantly the crew love them. Even the, ‘where’s-the-meat?’ types love falafel. You can’t lose. Even if you haven’t achieved your monthly goals, everyone’s stomachs are happy.

To make enough falafel for 8 people you will need;

2 small onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
800g chickpeas from a can or jar, washed and drained
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 bunch of coriander, tender stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and pepper


  • Sauté the onion in a frying pan with a tsp of sugar till softened then add the garlic and finely chopped coriander stalks. Sauté for a few more minutes then tip into a large bowl that will hold all of the above ingredients.

  • Add the chick peas and a good pinch of salt and grinding of black pepper and all of the spices and using a potato masher or fork, mash the chickpeas up as much or as little as you wish. I gave them a fairly good mash but kept some texture.

  • Mix in the beaten egg and if you think its too dry, beat another egg and add a little of that at a time till the consistency is just right. It needs to be moist enough to hold together but not wet.

  • Take small portions of the mixture and shape into little dumplings, giving them a bit of a squeeze to flatten them ever-so-slightly. They should be slightly smaller than walnut size.

  • Heat 3 tbsp of sunflower oil in a frying pan and when the pan is hot add the falafel and brown on both sides. Do this in batches setting the browned falafel aside in an oven dish. When all of the falafel are cooked pop them in a hot oven for 5 minutes.

  • Serve the falafel with a bowl-full of Greek yoghurt mixed with 1 tbsp of tahini paste, 1 tbsp mint sauce and a good squeeze of lemon juice and its zest. Warm some pitta breads and arrange a platter of extra fillings. I did some grilled courgettes with cumin seeds and lemon juice but roasted cumin carrots or stir-fried cauliflower with spices can all be piled well into falafel-filled pitta bread.

Yummy.  The above amount made about 4 falafel each. Any more and you will need to plan a siesta into your afternoon. I think we should all do that anyway. Someone recently told me that people who have regular siestas live longer. I believe that. Mind you; could mean even less time getting those monthly goals achieved.

I guess I’ll see you in August then if not before. Enjoy the rest of your July.

Thanks for reading and Cheers!