An Ode to Falafel
Falafels are a fad I am certainly prepared to get behind. They have had a surge in popularity in recent years and, while I am more that happy to be lazy with these and head to ‘Falafel’ in Camberwell for my Saturday night supper, wrap in one hand and a beer in the other, I do like giving everything a go at home. I will review ‘Falafel’ shortly, but until then, give these a go. With a little elbow grease and a substantial dollop of hummus on the side, they are so moorish, I dare you to resist. Actually, don’t bother.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
One tin of chickpeas
One free range egg
Three dried apricots
One tspn tahini
One fresh chilli
One tspn harissa
One tbspn tomato puree
Two cloves of garlic
Boil the chickpeas until they soften slightly and drain. They are solid little things, so don’t be disheartened, this may take a while. This is certainly no quick sticks recipe. Unless that is you are blessed with a food processor, you lucky, lucky devil. In that instance throw them in and whizz them into a paste with the tahini and sunflower oil. If you are like me, deprived of this blessed tool, roll up your sleeves and mash with a potato masher and/or fork. Or better still, get a boyfriend who frequents the gym… Sorry Ms. Pankhurst. Leave to one side to cool.
Toast the cumin and coriander seeds and then combine with the rest of the spices and crush in a pestle and mortar. Lacking one of these, use the back of a spoon on a plate/chopping board. Slice the dried apricots and prunes finely and add to the flavour mix. Crack an egg into the chickpeas once they have cooled and mix until fully combined. Once that is completely blended, add the dried fruit and spices and repeat blending the process.
Roll into walnut sized balls, place in a side plate covered in cling film and leave in the fridge to cool and firm. Once they have set, heat the olive oil in a frying pan until very hot. Shallow fry the falafels are in the pan, flattening them slightly with a fish slice, turning every minute until golden brown. They should be crispy on either side and soft and sweet in the centre.
Slice the aubergine in to chunks. Pour the sesame oil and the olive oil and toss together with your hands to give the veg an even coating. Finely slice the fresh chilli and garlic and set aside. Then add the harissa, tomato puree and toss with your hands again to blend. Have a dry frying pan on the hob on a low heat and add the Aubergine.
Cook slowly until the Aubergine darkens become squidgy and a broody reddy purple colour. Yes, I aubergines can brood… Add the chilli and garlic to the pan and cook for a further 3 minutes, just to soften them but ,king sure they don’t char. Blackened garlic tastes, well, foul. Put into a serving bowl and sprinkle over the sesame seeds for a little extra texture.