To serve falafels, you’ll need two sauces: a tahini sauce and a “hot” sauce. You can use anything for a hot sauce, but this recipe page contains instructions for two authentic sauces (one being more of a relish, because of its thickness). And you’ll need an assortment of pickles.
And when I say “authentic,” I should tell you that I can make all this without a recipe because I lived in the Middle East and made it many times. But I did go online to see some of the authentic recipes and they are not authentic. For one thing, not one “authentic” falafel recipe had bread in it. This is a dish made by the poor. It’s fast food sold in kiosks everywhere. And poor people add bread to stretch things out just like we add bread (sometimes oats) to meatloaf. So for our readers, this is AUTHENTIC!
And note that the poorer the people, the hotter the food because their only spice in life is in their food.
Soak the chickpeas (some call them garbanzo beans) in water overnight with the baking soda.
The next day, soak your bread in water, and put some of the chickpeas (you’ll see how they doubled in size) in a food processor with the parsley leaves (if you’re using them), the cilantro, the onion, garlic, and Celtic Sea Salt. Let her rip, and empty into a large bowl. Then in the food processor more chickpeas and some bread, but make sure to squeeze the excess water out of the bread and keep doing that till everything is blended up and in your large bowl and then add your spices and the teaspoon of baking powder.
Put in the fridge for about an hour (helps to hold it together to form the balls).
Next make your tahini sauce.
Crush the garlic and chop up the onion into very fine chunks. In a deep bowl, stir up the tahini paste with the water and lemon juice (you’ll see it turns “white”). Add the garlic, chopped onion, and salt. Stir and refrigerate.
For hummus, you’ll want your tahini sauce thick. For falafel, it’s usually a bit thinner, like a soup. (Being authentic here.)
By the way, I never learned the actual name of this recipe. Wherever I went, everyone just called it harif, which means spicy hot.
Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chili peppers and place them in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the chili peppers; leave the peppers to soften for 30 minutes to an hour.
Drain the water from the chili peppers, place in a food processor with the spices and garlic, and let her rip.
Remove and add a splash of olive oil, and refrigerate.
There is an assortment to choose from, however, if you believe that things are so hot you cannot taste the food, for you the choice of pepper doesn’t matter. To those who love spicy foods, the “hot” enhances the flavor. Thus choose your pepper to your taste. Many varieties of peppers can be found online. They have different flavors and different levels of hot.
The oil (peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil are all good for deep frying) should be between 350 and 375, but no hotter, or everything falls apart.
Start with one ball to make sure the temperature is right (or use a thermometer).
Fry them up in small batches, so they don’t clump. They take about three to five minutes to cook.
You will never believe the different types of pickles at a falafel kiosk in the middle east. Everything is pickled. Eggplant, onions, carrots, you name it.
You cut pocket bread in half and stuff with the balls, but you’ll want some pickles in there. Also some people chop up tomatoes and put a couple of scoops of that on them. Then drizzle them with your tahini sauce, and top with the harif. Although, if you like, you can add your own hot sauce from Louisiana hot sauce to Sriracha sauce. As far as hot sauces go, these two are among the least hot. Tabasco is hotter than these two.
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