Monday, October 5, 2009

Simple Healthy Baked Falafel - Taameya Siheya

I have always loved falafel, or taameya as they call it in Egypt, but I wanted to find a way to make it without deep frying. Well, the last time I published the Egyptian Falafel Recipe. I had frozen several packages of falafel. So I decided to try baking one of the packages. Let me tell you I could not have been more pleased, not only does it taste the same as fried falafel, it is also much easier to make with much less mess and no frying odor. With this recipe you gain the health benefits of lower fat, the ease of cooking, and you do not give up any taste.


If you notice a similarity between the steps in this recipe and the Egyptian Falafel Recipe, it is no coincidence. I used the same batch to make both the fried recipe and the baked recipe.

Egyptian falafel, or taameya, is 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 Ghanouj, yogurt sauce, and cut vegetables. My favorite way to enjoy it is on Arabic bread with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and Tahini Bagdoonisya dip'


You can also freeze the uncooked mixture for 6 months and cook it as you need it.


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
  • 1 bunch of Green Onions (6 stalks)









  • 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 tbsp olive oil
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. If you want to freeze the mixture
    • Divide into 1 pound (1/2 Kg) portions
    • Place each portion into a plastic freezer bag and flatten to a 2 inch (5 cm) thick patty. Flattening them makes them faster to thaw out later.
    • Remove all air from the bag. I prefer to vacuum seal mine. If you vacuum seal them they will last at least six months in the freezer. I have have used them after 1 year in the freezer with no problem.


Bake the falafel:
  1. Preheat the over to 400oF (204oC).
  2. Brush olive oil onto a non-stick cookie sheet.
  3. Use a small ice cream scoop (1 Tblsp size) or a spoon to form small balls of your paste. Space them evenly across the sheet.
  4. Flatten the balls into disks with a fork. Be sure to pat the sides in smooth so they don't burn.
  5. Brush the top of each patty with olive oil.
  6. Bake at 400oF (204oC) for 10 minutes.
  7. Slowly slide a thin spatula under each patty and flip. This is easier if you take the sheet out of the over first.
  8. Bake at 400oF (204oC) for another 10 minutes.
  9. Serve hot or cold.
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.



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5 comments:

Madeline said...

i am so going to try this i cant wait. thank you for really breaking it down. i loved the falafel i had in alexandria, they were spicy in the middle. do u know what that ingredient was?

River Whiskey said...

Madeline,

Thank you for your comment. I also love the Alexandria version of both falafel and fava beans, or taameya and foul as they say in Egypt.

There are many ingredients that contribute to the spice of the Alexandria falafel. However in Alexandria they use a red pepper powder that is Shatta. It is a stronger, courser version of cayenne pepper. You can use cayenne pepper in its place. I have simulated it by grinding dry Thai hot peppers in a coffee grinder, seeds and all.

Anonymous said...

thanks! this is an awesome recipe easy and easy to follow.the baked falafel were good but fried they are superb!

Anonymous said...

thanks! this is an awesome recipe easy and easy to follow.the baked falafel were good but fried they are superb!

River Whiskey said...

Thanks Anonymous. There is something to be said for fried falafel, especially if you have hot clean oil. You notice we have both recipes because we love both.

However, it is easier for me to bake it. It is simpler as a week night dinner with less cleanup.

BTW, Lizabetti finally convinced me to use parchment paper for baking it, the result is that it is much crisper with a texture closer to the fried version.