There's nothing quite as simple and tasty as a freshly cooked falafel. Once seen as just the vegan option, it's become a stalwart on the festival eating scene and a real favourite on restaurant menus. For good reasons too, a tasty falafel packs enough flavour to tempt even die hard meat-eaters away from the burger van.
You'll find ready-cooked falafels everywhere in the supermarkets - but they tend to be pretty dry and tasteless. The reality is that a freshly made falafel is the only way to go. Of course making a falafel mix from scratch is great, however the clever folks at Al'fez have created an ingenious, authentic falafel mix that takes all the faff out of making falafels. You don't need a smelly deep fat fryer, just a small pan with a couple of inches of hot oil, some cold water and two spoons. Simply empty the contents of the box and mix with 170ml of cold water and leave it to stand for 5 minutes. Then using two spoons, form golf ball sized nuggets and shallow fry in hot oil for around 3 minutes.
Sipping chilled wine and eating falafels slathered in tahini with pitta bread is a joy and perfect for summer entertaining, al fresco BBQ's or just an ordinary Tuesday night. In this recipe, I've also paired the falafels with a classic Tabouleh salad, which when made correctly should be thought of as a parsley salad with bulgur wheat, rather than the other way round.
For the Tahini Sauce
3tbsp Tahini Paste
1 Clove of Garlic
Juice of 1 Lemon
Around 8tbsp cold water
For the Tabouleh Salad
80g Bulgur Wheat
3 x Bunches of Flat Leaf Parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 x Bunch of Fresh Mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
4 x Tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced
1 x Red Onion, peeled and finely diced
1tsp Ground Allspice
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
Juice of 1 Lemon
Around 120ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1. Start by making the Tabouleh salad. Rinse the bulgur wheat under running water, then cook in roughly 1¾ times the volume of salted boiling water for around 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave to sit - all the water should get absorbed.
2. Whilst the bulgur wheat is cooking, make the tahini sauce. Combine all the ingredients and whisk together. You want a sauce that's roughly the consistency of double cream, so if you think it's a little too thick, add more water. The amount of lemon juice and salt you add makes a real difference, it removes any bitterness from the tahini paste. So you may need to adjust these levels slightly as you go.
3. Empty the contents of the falafel mix into a bowl and add 170ml of cold water. Mix well and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
4. Combine all the other ingredients for the Tabouleh Salad, and gently mix together.
5. Fill a small pan or wok with a couple of inches of rapeseed oil and heat until it's hot, but not smoking!
6. Using a couple of spoons make a nugget shape of falafel mix and drop it into the hot oil. Cook for around 3 minutes, turning them so they cook evenly on all sides. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
We love these served with grilled pitta breads and often incorporate them in one of these great 'grazing' table meals with things like artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, olives, pickles.
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