Few things that comfort us when we stay abroad are friends, secure job and good food. Speaking about food, experimenting with new foods may be exciting only when it is occasional. But, if situations impose it on us on a daily basis, it becomes a frustrating issue. Availability of our local foods in a foreign land may give us a tremendous sense of relief. Strangely enough, foods of an alien country which bear streaks of similarity to our native food also bring us so much happiness. Perhaps, the thought that they eat like us, makes us feel that those people are not so different from us. It, in a way, helps to reduce the gap between us. Falafel or Chickpea patty is one such Middle Eastern food that is so much like our South Indian Masal Vadai.
The clear cut instructions and video tutorial at videojug.com inspired me to try my hand at making falafels. I tried following the recipe to the T. I strayed away from the original, in adding finely chopped onions to the mix and flattening the patty mix instead of rounding them as spheres. The result, as you see below, was very good.
The fact that it does not require water during grinding makes it safe play. As you all know, this is where many go wrong while preparing masal vadai – add more water to the batter and subsequently face problems while shaping the vadai; more water in the batter also absorbs more oil during deep frying. The all purpose flour acts as a binding agent and makes it easier to mould the falafel into shape and keep it intact.
If you are intent upon pointing some setbacks of falafel in comparison with masal vadai, then you could state: the longer soaking time required for chickpeas than the Bengalgram dhal; the longer list of ingredients for falafel; the baking salt in it amounting to more sodium.
But on the whole, it is a tasty snack and would remain healthy, if portion control is taken care of – restrict to 2. In the Middle East, falafel is either served with tahini sauce or in Mushakel. Mushakel is a sandwich made by stuffing falafels in pita along with salad, pickled vegetables and tahini sauce.
It is now your turn to try this Middle Eastern Dish.