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Although some restaurant deep-fry cooks might say "Don't try this trick at home," making falafel is easy. Have all of the serving garnishes ready -- fresh pita bread, lettuce, tomato, onions, scallions, hot peppers and cucumbers. Toppings can include hummus, baba ghannouj or tahini sauce.

  • 1 1/4 cups (8 ounces) dried chickpeas
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 to 3 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • Garnishes
  • Tahini Sauce (recipe follows)

Cover the chickpeas with cold water and let soak overnight in the refrigerator. Drain.

In a food processor, grind together the chickpeas, onion and garlic. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the oil, and chill for at least 1 hour.

With moistened hands, shape rounded tablespoon of the mixture into meatball-size balls.

Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep saucepan or straight-sided skillet to 365 degrees, or until a cube of bread turns golden in 1 minute. Deep-fry 5 to 7 falafel at a time, turning to brown evenly, about 5 minutes. To check if they are cooked, remove one and cut it in half. The color should be even throughout. If it is not, continue to cook for 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Makes about 30 fritters, enough to serve 6.

Tahini Sauce

Ground sesame seeds are used to make tahini paste. It is available in Middle Eastern grocery stores. Among the many uses of the paste is making this sauce.

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • About 1/2 cup water

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Use as much water as needed to make a sauce with the consistency of cream. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

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