Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Egyptian Falafel Feast - Taameya

Taameya (ta9-may-ya) is the Egyptian word for falafel, but Egyptian falafel is also different from the garden variety falafel that you usually get in this country. The difference is that the Egyptian variety are made with fava beans instead of chick peas(Garbanzo beans). Fave beans have a much richer flavor and are higher in protein and fiber than chick peas. If you can't find dry fava beans, you can use dry chick peas in the same quantities as this recipe. 

Falafel and fava bean sandwiches are the original fast food and are available at many corner stands throughout the Middle East. They are a delicious, economical, and extremely healthy main course choice.

This dish is an awesome vegetarian treat that will leave you completely satisfied. Serve it with Tahini Bagdoonisya dip, Baba Ghanoujyogurt sauce, and cut vegetables. You can also freeze the uncooked mixture for 6 months and cook it as you need it. For a lighter, healthier alternative, try my Baked Falafel Recipe

I would like to thank my dear Professor Lingua Franca for the original idea and instruction in cooking this dish.

Ingredients


  • 2 cups fava beans, peeled if possible. You can buy this at any Middle Eastern market. If they are not available peeled, you can peel them after soaking, or keep the peel for additional fiber.
  • 1 fresh leek, washed and sliced.
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 head of garlic


  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp cayanne pepper, double the quantity for Alexandria style.


  • 1 tbsp baking powder

  • 2 tsp sea salt (can be omitted or reduced for health reasons, it will still taste good)
  • 2 cups canola oil (re-usable)

Directions

Prep the Beans:


  1. Wash the beans thoroughly in luke warm water.
  2. Soak the beans in water for at least 2 days, changing the water about 4 times during this period. The first water changing should come when the beans form a foamy froth on the surface. Changing the water will prevent the beans' gassy effect on your GI tract.
  3. Drain the beans when ready to make the paste.



Make the Paste:


  1. Place the parsley, cilantro and garlic in the food processor, chop fine.
  2. Add the green onions and leeks, chop fine.
  3. Remove the vegetable paste from the food processor and set aside. Do not wash the food processor.
  4. Add the beans to the food processor and chop until they reach the consistency of a thick peanut butter.

  5. In a bowl, mix the vegetable paste and chopped beans.
  6. Add the cumin, coriander, cayanne, and salt. If you are going to freeze the mixture, leave out the salt and add it when you are going to cook the falafel.
  7. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Mix the paste thoroughly.
  8. Sprinkle the baking powder over the paste, evenly fold into the paste.
  9. Let stand for at least 1 hour. You can also leave it covered in the fridge over night.

  10. Use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to form balls out of the paste. Place on wax paper or non-stick surface.


  11. Use a fork to form the balls into a disk shape about 1/2 inch thick.


Fry the falafel:


  1. Heat the oil over medium high heat. It should be hot enough for deep frying. Mine was about 200oF (94oC).
  2. Use a spatula to put 4 patties at a time into the oil. It should immediately bubble. If it does not bubble, it is not hot enough.
  3. Cook each set of patties for 30 seconds, until it s a rich brown. Remove with a strainer, drain the oil thoroughly and place the falafel on a paper towel to blot.
  4. Keep repeating this process. Every few batches pass the strainer through the oil and remove the burnt solids and discard. This will keep your oil clean and prevent it from breaking down. It will also prevent any oily taste to your falafel.

I realize that it looks lengthy, but the work portion of it can be done in 45 minutes. You just need to plan ahead for the soak time for the beans and the stand time for the paste. If you freeze this mixture, you can enjoy this tasty treat anytime without too much effort, even on a week night.

River took this to Lunch in this Bento Box that he bought for Stella in Japan. It made for a delicious light lunch which was also very satisfying. Stella kept nagging him until he brought the box home.



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4 comments:

jeffrey said...

I tried this recipe and L-O-V-E it!

It was a lot of work, but was worth the wait for the beans to soak for two days, and for the finished paste to sit overnight....Oh, but when they were done, they were so delicious!
Absolutely the best tasting Falafel I've ever had.

I served them with sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced sweet onion, and fresh Tzatziki sauce, on a warm whole wheat pitas.

Thanks for the great recipe!!!

River Whiskey said...

Thanks Jeffrey,

You should freeze large quantities. It freezes very well. We usually eat one time per week.

Also try the baked version at
Baked Falafel

It is less labor and tastes the same. Also much healthier than deep frying. Then you only need to form and bake. We do it on week days.

mels stuff said...

Hi
Thanks for the recipe!
i tried this a little while ago but used frozen beans the falafel were extremely wet and just seperated in the oil so assumed it was because the beans were frozen. So have tried again but just blended the herbs and onions and again its giving off a lot of water should i try draining them or is that how it is supposed to be?
Thanks

River Whiskey said...

Hi mels stuff,

I don't know what you mean by frozen fava beans, are they frozen green fava beans ?

Anyway you need to start with dry fava beans or this dish will not work. Anything fresh or frozen will continue to shed water no matter how long you wait. When you soak dry beans the water saturates them like a sponge. This makes them soft enough to chop in the food processor.

Good luck.