Falafel

If you remember me writing about the harissa post, I mentioned that I got home from watching Bikhre Bimb at Rangashankara, late one Thursday evening. My car also ended up with a flat tyre. And by the time I got home, it was 10 pm.

Bikhre Bimb was interesting. It tells the story of a lady who is primarily a Kannada author but makes it big for an English book she publishes. As the story proceeds, it is revealed that it was not the lady who wrote the book, but her dead sister. I’ll drop my personal opinion into this blog post, at this point: I have very low tolerance for lies. And it irks me to no end when I figure someone has been untruthful to me because I tend to look at it as an insult to my intellect. I know I’m harsh in the way I deal with people. And this play made me think about several issues that I had consciously chosen to overlook over the past few weeks. In some ways, I’m glad I watched the play, and at the time I watched it. I was scheduled to watch it earlier in March with Ma, when she was visiting. But we never got around to it. Watching Bikhre Bimb in May was, for me, in some ways, closure on something I had held dear for a while.

All that said, and tired as I was, I got home almost content with myself and in full acceptance of how the aforementioned “issue” had panned out, after all. And I needed to cook. And so I did.

Alright, so, here’s the thing. I know falafel balls use chickpeas. But I wanted to avoid deep frying. And I also had enough chickpeas going into the hummus. So I thought I’d do something different. I used moong daal.

Also, I’m well aware that this isn’t an authentic falafel recipe. I could’ve made tzaziki instead of using hummus. I’ve made something similar and will post it when I write my lamb-over-rice recipe. But I had a jar of hummus from the weekend. And I had some harissa. And some oven-dried tomatoes. And I just really wanted to see how it’d turn out if I put a bunch of fun things already in my refrigerator together. No regrets. Not one.

DSC_0596

Ingredients:
For the Falafel Balls:
1 cup moong daal
1 medium sized onion, ground to a paste
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped or ground
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt, to taste
Oil, to cook
Water, to soak/cook the daal
Rice flour or semolina, to bind

For the filling:
Lettuce, roughly chopped
Black Olives, whole or sliced
Green Olives, whole or sliced
Onions, thinly sliced
Sun-dried tomatoes or oven-dried tomatoes
Hummus
Harissa

For the pita:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Salt, to taste
Water, to bind

Method:
Making the Falafel Balls:
1. Soak the moong daal for 6-8 hours (or overnight) and pressure cook it. If you’ve just suddenly decided to make this stuff, pressure cook the moong dal with a teaspoon of baking soda and sufficient water.
2. Heat some oil in a skillet and saute the onions, the garlic and the green chillies until lightly browned.
3. Add the cooked daal and the dry spices (coriander powder, cumin powder and salt) and cook for a few more minutes, until the water boils off and the mixture is the consistency of cake batter (possibly), or even better, dough.
4. Add the chopped coriander and cook for a few more minutes.
5. Let the mixture cool down until you can work it with your hands.
6. Grease your hands with a little bit of oil and scoop the mixture into inch-sized balls. Roll them in some rice flour or semolina.
7. Bake them at 200 degrees celsius until they begin to brown, or alternately, shallow-fry them on a pan.

Making the pita pockets:
1. Make the dough for the pita bread using the wheat flour, baking soda, salt, oil and water.
2. Keep it aside for at least 15 minutes.
3. Make balls of dough about an inch and a half to two, in diameter. Roll the ball out, still fairly thick, about 3 inches across.
4. Make a cut from the centre of the circle of dough, out to the perimeter.
5. Fold the circle over, first from the left and then from the right (or the other way around, if that’s what you prefer) to make a triangular like piece.
6. Roll this out again, in a more or less circular shape, not too thin – about 3-4 inches in diameter.
7. Bake at 150 degrees celsius until it puffs up, or cook it on a pan, a couple of minutes on both sides, until the pita pocket fluffs up.
(I hope the image below helps. This is really the best I could do with Kolor. Linuxtards. Maybe, kinda. )

falafel_pita_pocket

Putting the falafel together:
1. The folds made while rolling out the pita bread are very visible, when you have cooked it. Pull it apart, just a little, to make a pocket.
2. Slather one side with some hummus.
3. Put a little bit of harissa on the other.
4. Stuff 2-3 falafel balls on the inside.
5. Add the lettuce, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and any seasoning or more veggies, if you like.
6. Yay!

DSC_0594

Notes:
1. I am superman.
2. Hehe. Not quite. All I’m saying is that it is completely legit to multi-task. Prep the dough first, pressure cook the moong daal while you do. And then, cook the mixture for the falafel balls while the dough rests. That way you’re not too overwhelmed or worried that this recipe is tedious. Or well, just do everything one at a time and read or watch TV or listen to music or do whatever it is that you need to get done, in the meanwhile. Life’s good, like that.
3. I’m a sucker for all things Alton Brown. This article is all science about the differences between baking powder and baking soda. And it is AWESOME.

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