A few blocks from our house there is a really great Middle Eastern cafe and they make the best falafel sandwiches. We bring food back from there every now and then, and judging from last year's record, we seem to get an especially strong craving for this type of food when working outside in the woodshop.
So, I figured wouldn't it be great to make these myself and keep a large supply of everything in the freezer. If I did that, then the next time we would be out in the carport working on something and started to feel hungry I would simply say in true 50s home maker's spirit - Honey, I'll just pop in the kitchen and whip us up a few authentic falafel sandwiches. And 10 minutes later I would bring out these wonderful wraps (which would taste just like they came from our local cafe), and maybe a few beers and it would be perfect. We would have a nice meal, and we'd save money in the process. That was my mental image before starting on this.
And I'm so happy to say that's exactly how it happened. I feel so excited about this. I feel so happy just knowing I have 32 falafel balls and 12 pita breads in my freezer as of this moment (and I could always bake more breads to even out the supply!), and that they're all homemade and delicious and I could feed us with this for weeks to come. That is, unless we start eating this morning, lunch and dinner, which is highly likely because these sandwiches just turned out so so good.
OK. So frying falafel isn't hard at all. I had this image before starting that it was somehow difficult to make falafel and that you needed to have an Egyptian mother or at least a great aunt to do it right. But no, it doesn't seem like you need any Middle Eastern heritage at all to succeed with this…
The thing with falafel balls is that you soak chickpeas and then you don't cook them, you chop them up and then you fry them. Which I still have a tough time grasping. You don't have to cook the chickpeas - won't they be hard and difficult to eat? But no, they won't. You simply process the soaked chickpeas with spices, onion, herbs and a little flour and then you form these tight balls. And you fry them, and it's quick and it's not a big deal whatsoever.
I had also never baked pita breads before. It was easy. They came out great. The only thing that I haven't quite gotten a grasp on yet is how to get every single one to "balloon." But even those that didn't pop up completely taste great, and we just wrap the falafel around the pita bread anyway, so it doesn't really matter either way.
And there you have it. Fry a humongous batch of falafel up, because you might as well when you're going through the trouble anyway. Bake some pita breads. Store both the falafel and the pitas in the freezer. Keep some lettuce and tahini and yogurt on hand in the fridge. Oh and hot sauce, you must have hot sauce such as Sambal Olek. Then mix up up about 1 tsp of tahini with 2 tsp of water. Add 1 or 2 tbsp of unflavored, full fat yogurt and some salt and pepper and you have enough sauce for two sandwiches. Use two or three (heated) falafel balls for each sandwich and cut each one in half before assembling. Then just put everything together and I also like to wrap them in foil for easier eating.
And that's all that's to it. These taste unbelievably good. So tasty and just what I was going for.
So if you're bored one rainy afternoon and you figure - hey I might as well cook up 20 servings of falafel and bake some pita breads so lunches are covered for the foreseeable future, then get to it already. At least I know if the zoombies from Walking Dead cut off our food supply, then we'll eat like kings for at least a week or two... Then it would go downhill from there.
You can find both the falafel recipe as well as the pita bread recipe over at The Culinary Review.