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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What is falafel made of

What is falafel made of
Long before hamburgers, pizza, and French fries, there was falafel, a traditional Mediterranean dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. Popular street food in Israel, Falafel has also made a name in the United States. Why? In short, it tastes good and is also good enough for you: a winning combination. But what about a falafel?

The name "falafel" can refer to the whole dish but describes more precisely the main ingredient: the falafel balls.

Originally, the falafel balls were made of beans, chickpeas or some combination of both. These days, falafel balls are usually made from chickpeas (also called chickpeas), but you can still find other variations depending on where you buy your falafel.

The chickpeas are soaked, then ground and seasoned with onions, chives, and spices such as parsley, garlic, cumin, and cilantro. Then, the mixture is formed into balls and fried in a large tub. The oil has to be hot enough so that when you release the balls, the outside becomes nice and crispy and the inside does not get very greasy. The best falafel manufacturers have achieved a delicate balance.

Falafel balls are often served wrapped in a hollow pita shell and garnished with toppings such as tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles and, sometimes, even French fries. Falafel restaurants also offer other dressings, such as eggplant salad, grated beetroot or pickled vegetables. The whole sandwich is covered with hummus, sprinkled with tahini and, if desired, a spicy sauce is also added.

Many falafel restaurants also serve a counterpart of falafel meat known as shawarma, which is usually lamb (but can be chicken or turkey) roasted on a spit and shaved for sandwiches.

The good thing about Falafel is that it is a meatless option for vegetarians that is full of nutrients such as fiber, proteins, and folate. Chickpeas are also low in sodium and saturated fats. That does not mean it's as healthy as a green salad. Some falafel pitas can have up to 750 calories, 30 grams of fat and a whopping 1500 milligrams of sodium. Therefore, it is important that you eat your falafel in moderation, and keep in mind what you are choosing and how it affects your calorie count.

Falafel has always been a mainstay on the menu in the Mediterranean, but it also made its way into the menu at restaurants in many other countries. In particular, street vendors in New York City are now known for their version of the dish. One of the most popular restaurants in Manhattan to serve falafel is Taim, started by the Israeli couple Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger. They serve three varieties of their small shop and a food truck: green (mixed with parsley, mint, and cilantro), red (mixed with red peppers) and harissa (mixed with Tunisian spices).

If you do not live near a falafel junction, you can definitely try to do something at home. In this way, you can have more control over the ingredients and the way you make it healthy (you can even bake the balls in the oven instead of frying them, although they will not be crispy).

This traditional falafel recipe is extracted from Joan Nathan's cookbook The Foods of Israel Today. It takes some patience, and possibly a bit of trial and error. The falafel balls can fall into the oil if it is not the right temperature or the falafel balls do not have enough flour in the mixture to join. But it's worth waiting for Regarding the type of oil, Alton Brown recommends using peanut oil to fry falafel, but most recipes online

To add a fresh touch to the tradition, try this falafel recipe, combined with a cucumber instead of the more traditional tahini. With almost a thousand positive comments on Allrecipes.com, it's pretty unanimous.