going through my cook books
I have been looking through a few of my (far too many really! ) cook books recently. I do this every now and again, and note down any recipes I like the look of.
One of the books I looked through was The Vegetable Bible by Sophie Grigson. Several of my favourite things have come from there.
This evening, I tried her Carrot Falafel with tomato and carrot salad. The reason I thought I’d give it a try is that she says to make the falafel with chickpeas that are uncooked. She’s quite strict about it and says that ‘you should never even think of using tinned chick peas for making falafel’! They are soaked overnight, then whizzed with spring onion, a bit of carrot and some seasonings. I was curious what the finished falafel would taste like after they had been fried. I decided to do these yesterday, so weighed out the dried chickpeas and left them to soak in a small bowl overnight.
Priced using mySupermarket and Asda
To serve 2
50g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, 500g/£1.15, 11p
2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped 45p a pack/ 9p
A clove of garlic, 5p
About 80g carrot, grated, 47p/kg, 4p
Half a tsp ground cumin, 74p/41g, 2p
Pinch baking powder
Oil for frying
Total cost 31p, 15p each
Drain the chickpeas and put in a food processor. Add everything else, including salt and pepper. Process to a fine mulch. For this small quantity, you might need to scrape the mixture down a couple of times.
Squish the mixture into about 8 small patties, careful now, they will be fragile.
Heat a little oil, a tblsp, in a frying pan large enough to hold them all and fry gently for 3 or 4 minutes until firmed up and golden brown. Flip over gently and fry the other side until that side is golden too.
Whilst this is happening, assemble your accompaniments. Wonderful in the classic way with a warm pitta, a bit of salad and a dollop of thick yogurt or hummus.
Spring onions cook a lot quicker, and have a much milder taste than the usual onion. They are expensive compared to ordinary onions however, although at 15p, this recipe can hardly be described as expensive! The falafel are cooked gently for 6 minutes or more, so I think an ordinary onion would be fine if that is what you have.
These were delicious! And yes, they were very different to falafel made with pre cooked chickpeas. The texture was different, hmm, how to describe it. Pre cooked chickpea falafel have a more homogenous, smooth, texture. These looked like they might even be crunchy with uncooked bit of chickpea, but they weren’t. They were quite firm after cooking, with the merest hint of cumin coming through. Moist from the carrot and spring onion. When I was forming the patties, they felt very wet and I thought they might boil in the pan rather than fry. They were pretty fragile uncooked and I was glad I had made them small.
I will def be making these again. Very soon in fact as I made enough for two, so have a little bowl of mix ready to make into patties sitting ready in the fridge. New husband didn’t want them, he was angling for a kebab 😊
These would be fabulous in a lunchbox. And of course you can make them using canned chick peas. The cumin could be increased: use ground coriander, garam masala or turmeric instead or as well: use a little beetroot or fennel instead of the carrot: take them in an Asian direction by flavouring with ginger and soy sauce or miso: add horseradish or tomato purée: flavour with sweet chilli sauce or drizzle over.
Chick peas are a pretty neutral flavour, so these coins be made as a sweet version. Leave out the garlic and cumin, and drizzle with maple syrup or add a tsp or two of Muscovado sugar, maybe drizzle with a little honey: or add a tsp or two of cocoa or some value chocolate chopped small: add a couple of dried apricots chopped very small, or any other dried fruit, maybe date and walnut.
When mulching the mix in the processor, you might need to leave out things like the chopped apricot or chocolate and mix them in afterwards, depending on how fine you want them chopped.
For the savoury versions, serve with some kind of salad as in the picture. I used cherry tomatoes, a tiny bit of grated carrot and some chopped courgette, a dollop of full fat Greek yogurt and a drizzle of vinaigrette.
For sweet versions, serve with a fruit compote. Lovely summer strawberries, sliced and left to macerate in a tsp of sugar: right now the early rhubarb is coming in, or put some flavour in bullet hard supermarket peaches by slicing and poaching with a tiny bit of sugar and a star anise if you have it.
health and safety
Do not, under any circumstances, use raw and soaked beans to make this recipe. Many beans (not just red kidney beans) contain toxins that need to be boiled before consumption. See the article in Katherine’s comment below. You could become very ill eating unboiled beans
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