By Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Helene Siegel, Cesare Casella, Jack Bishop, Tom Lacalamita, Heather Dismore, Martin Yan, Dede Wilson, Joan H. Moravek, Kristin Eddy

Street food in many Arabic countries, falafel is a delicious Arabic fast food of fried balls (or patties) of ground and seasoned chickpeas stuffed into a pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and a tahini sauce. It’s amazingly easy to make. The chickpeas are soaked overnight and not cooked before being ground up in the food processor with the other ingredients.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/TheCrimsonMonkey]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/TheCrimsonMonkey

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus overnight for soaking the chickpeas

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1-1⁄4 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in room-temperature water

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄4 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander

1-1⁄2 teaspoons salt

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil for frying

For serving:

4 pita breads, warmed

2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 tomato, cored and diced

1⁄2 cup Tahini with Yogurt Dip

  1. Drain the chickpeas. Place in a food processor bowl and coarsely chop.

  2. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt, baking soda, and cayenne pepper. Process until finely chopped.

  3. Place the mixture in a bowl and add the flour.

  4. With wet hands, form 4 patties, about 3 inches in diameter.

  5. Fill a large nonstick skillet with 1⁄2 inch of the vegetable oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Fry the falafels on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

  6. Open one edge of the pita breads. Place a quarter of the lettuce and tomatoes in each. Place a falafel in each pita bread. Drizzle the falafel with some of the Tahini with YogurtDip.

To serve falafel as an appetizer, roll the mixture into small bite-sized balls and fry them until golden brown. Serve on a bed of lettuce and diced tomato. Drizzle generously with some of the sauce.

Tahini with Yogurt Dip

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2-1/4 cups

1 cup tahini

1-1/4 cups drained or Greek-style yogurt

Salt

Combine the tahini and yogurt in a mixing bowl. Taste and add salt if necessary.