July 19, 2010

egyptian falafel

I bought fava beans at the market because I hear "it's the thing to do."

After falling prey to this food trend, I decided to do some reading on the bean. Here's my favorite factoid - "These ancient beans are one of the oldest cultivated plants and among the easiest to grow. They were the only beans Europeans ate before they discovered America and all its legumes." (NPR article) I like that.

When I looked for meal ideas, I landed on Egyptian falafel... because regular falafel is delicious! Egyptian falafel is unique from everywhere else in the Middle East because it uses fava beans instead of chickpeas. Internet people make claims that Egyptian falafel is superior. I enjoy such claims so I went with it.

The only catch to these trendy beans is that there are 3 steps to process them. First you have to pop them out of the pods. Then you parboil them for a minute in some salty water. Finally you peal off the outer skin to reveal a bright green bean. After eating the Egyptian falafel, I've decided it's worth the effort.

Serving Size: 12 small falafel balls

Egyptian Falafel Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh fava beans in the pod (1 c. shelled and skinned)
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. parsley
1 t. cumin
1 t. coriander
1/2 t. salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1 T. flour

Toast the cumin and coriander in a dry pan. Put all of the ingredients except the fava beans in a food processor and blend. Add the shelled fava beans and pulse a few times until it reaches a desired consistency. Form balls. If you have time, let them sit in the refrigerator. Pan fry or bake.

I went all out and made homemade pita's using this recipe. We cooked them on the grill instead of in the oven to keep the heat in the kitchen down. To grill them, we coated the dough discs in olive oil, put them straight on the grill, and cooked them for 2-3 minutes on each side.