Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Home Made Broad Bean Falafel & Pita Bread

I'm back! After an almost two month hiatus after Vegan MoFo I've finally got my mojo back. I'm not sure if I will participate next year, I found this year a bit draining, and I didn't enjoy it as much. I also found the lack of Google Reader really annoying and I felt like I probably missed out on some really great posts. The Random MoFo thingy for some reason kept taking me back to a few particular blogs... not that they weren't great but I like to try and have at least one look at everybody. Anyways, enough whingeing.

Like we do every year, we grow broad beans, which were in plentiful supply to us so that I forgot to freeze a shelled half kilo of them(d'oh!) . However, when I pulled the plants up I harvested the rest and these have been outside drying out in their pods. I decided to use some today to make some gluten free broad bean falafel. For some reason so many of the mixes and recipes I've seen aren't gluten free so  I decided to just make it. Now don't get me wrong, I like chick peas, but I like the Egyptian broad bean falafel a lot better. We don't use this humble bean enough! I fear the poor broad bean gets left at the back of the shelf too often while the chickpea gets flung about and used like the village bicycle. What a floosie.

When I began looking at different recipes I found so many people used tinned chickpeas, flour, and eggs to make it at home. What's with that? Tinned chickpeas are way too soft to give a good felafel texture, and if made correctly you DO NOT NEED FLOUR OR EGGS!!! Sounds like a pikelet mixture to me.

Anyway with a lack of a decent recipe I had to come up with my own.

I also wanted to make my own pita bread to have warm and fresh, and some other yummy fillin's and fixin's like hummus and tabbouleh. 

I wanted to make a gluten free tabbouleh so I used my old friend the millet seed. I've seen plenty of recipes of late for quinoa in salads who is currently to the food world what One Direction is to music. I can't believe I just wrote about One Direction in a blog post. But you know what I mean, it's trendy,  its popular, its everywhere (although us vegans have been eating it long before the hipsters did). Millet on the other hand lies old and forgotten like the daggy Kamahl record covered in dust at the back of Vinnies.  So back to millet I go! I like to add a little orange zest to the tabbouleh, and use char grilled tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes to give it a slightly smoky flavour.

Falafel Ingredients
225 gr dried podded broad beans
75 gr dried chickpeas
75 gr sunflower seeds
75gr sesame seeds
1 small onion
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 clove garlic
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup water

1.For a quicker falafel I simmered the broad beans and chickpeas in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes, and then left aside to cool. Traditionally these are soaked overnight, but I wanted it now! They were just softening but still very firm. You don't want these to end up as a pot of hummus, you want a gritty texture.
2.In a food processor put in all the ingredeints except the water and pulse until you have a very coarse breadcrumb appearance. Add a little water after each pulse to help it a long. You should have a very thick mixture that easily sticks together.
3.Shape portions of the mixture to your desired size (I got 8 large falafels, but you could make them smaller for appetisers).
4.Heat some sunflower oil in a frying pan for shallow frying, and then fry falafels until dark golden on each side. Put them on a oven tray and put them in the oven at 100C to keep warm until you are done cooking them all.

Pita Bread Ingredients
2 cups bakers flour
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt

1.If you have a stand mixer you can use your dough hook and place all ingredients in the bowl and leave until dough centres around the hook and comes away from the sides of the bowl (adjusting liquid if necessary). If you are doing it by hand, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour wet ingredients in the middle. Using a spoon gradually incorporate the flour into the middle until all mixed, and then turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth. 
2.To cook the pita, take pieces about 1/4 cup in size, and then roll out very thin, almost to the point where it would break. Dust with flour if you have to to prevent it sticking to your workbench.
On a very hot BBQ plate, or an iron skillet (or in my case, my iron wok-of-all-work) spray lightly with oil, and cook until "bubbles" appear or it puffs up. Flip over and cook the other side. It takes about a minute for the first side, and maybe 30 =40 seconds for the second side. It's important to use as a hot a surface as possible. Of course traditionally pita breads are baked, but there's no way a home oven could get hot enough to bake it so it puffs. This is the same method I use to make naan and tortillas and it works great.

Millet & Kale Tabbouleh Ingredients
1/2 cup millet
1 big bunch of flat parsley
1 big handful mint
2-3 large kale leaves
juice of 1 lemon
1 Lebanese cucumber
4 large tomatoes - deseeded, chargrilled, and cooled
2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
1 tsp orange zest

Chargrill seeded tomatoes and set aside to cool. When cool chop finely, and set aside.
Cook millet in a pan of boiling water according to packet directions and set aside to cool.
Finely chop parsley, kale and mint. If you are making a lot pulse it a few times in the food processor its much quicker!
Dice cucumber.
Assemble tabbouleh by placing all ingredients in a large bowl and tossing until well mixed.

We had our falafel in the fresh pita with the tabbouleh, some corn cous cous, coconut yoghurt and freshly blitzed hummus. You could also add extra chilli, tahini, or garlic sauce if you wanted to. It was delicious! If you wanted a gluten free meal just omit the pita bread and eat the falafel with the corn cous cous and all the extras :)