Since I Have The Deep Fryer Out…

Ah, what an enjoyable mommy dinner we had in June!  We were a full house; every seat at my 12-person table was taken for a Southern-inspired meal.  Our Kentucky girl Shari started us off with a round of mint juleps; thanks to Jacki (who revealed her hidden talent of being able to make any gadget go), there was plenty of finely crushed ice.  OMG.  What a difference the crushed ice makes in this drink vs ice cubes!

The main event of my Southern meal is always my fried chicken.  It’s somewhat messy to make, but very easy.  I don’t brine, I don’t do the three step dredge, yet everyone loves when I make it.  My pal Penny delayed taking her son to camp so she could attend.  I will blog on this later this summer, as I’m sureI’ll be making it for my guys again before the end of summer.

This morning I mentioned to Kurt that I wanted to deep fry something else since the fryer was out, ready for action.  He suggested falafel.  That made me happy!  The first and best falafel I had came from a food truck on Penn’s campus over 30 years ago.  I had never had it til then, and being rather food adventurous, I ordered it.

I was immediately addicted to what was wrapped in the shiny foil package:  soft pita stuffed with crunchy patties of mashed chickpeas redolent of warm Middle Eastern spices, the heat tempered by a cool cucumber yogurt sauce that I later learned was called tzatziki.

I found a recipe online to use as a base; you can find it here.  I kept close to the ingredient list, omitting only the baking powder, but changed the methods; I am, after all, a rather lazy cook and hate taking out lots of gadgets just for a family supper.  Next time I make these, I most likely will NOT have my deep fryer on hand; I would then cook these in my cast iron skillet with a 1/2 inch or so of oil in the pan.

Falafel (adapted from Allrecipes)

  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (mine were large), pressed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 c bread crumbs (I used homemade, but if store-bought, I’d go with panko)
  • your favorite cucumber yogurt sauce (one included in the Allrecipes link, above)
  • chopped lettuce and tomatoes
  • pita bread

In a small bowl, beat the egg and olive oil together, then set aside.

These are the only liquids for the falafel

These are the only liquids for the falafel

Place drained chickpeas in a bowl.  Using a potato masher, smash the peas until you have a chunky paste.

It's chunky, not smooth!

It’s chunky, not smooth!

Press the garlic into the peas.

A garlic press gives you the most intense garlic flavor; large pieces give less flavor

A garlic press gives you the most intense garlic flavor; large pieces give less flavor.  I think it’s a surface area thing…

Add the onion, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt and lemon juice.  Mix well.

The aroma of the parsley and cumin-- YUM!

The aroma of the parsley and cumin– YUM!

Stir in the egg/oil mixture, mixing well to incorporate the liquid into the mash.  The mixture will be very sticky at this p0int.  Slowly add the bread crumbs, using more or less than 1 cup until the mixture holds together when you make a small patty.  The surface of the patty should be tacky, but not sticky.

The crumbs absorb the moisture quickly, so add the crumbs a bit at a time, then stir well and check the consistency of the falafel

The crumbs absorb the moisture quickly, so add the crumbs a bit at a time, then stir well and check the consistency of the falafel

Divide the mix into four and make 3-4 patties from each quarter.  Place the patties on a plate.

Three out of my four quarters

Three out of my four quarters

Refrigerate the patties and turn your deep fryer on to heat (this usually takes about 25 minutes, just enough time to firm up the falafel patties).  Remember, you can also fry these in a skillet with about 1/2 inch of oil– cast iron is best!

Ready to fry!

Ready to fry!

When oil is ready, fry the patties 4-5 at a time for 3-4 minutes or until brown.  Remove to drain on a rack set over newspaper, then transfer to a plate.

Golden brown and crusty!

Golden brown and crusty!

Serve with pita, chopped lettuce and tomato, and the cucumber yogurt sauce.

Falafel and fixin's

Falafel and fixin’s

A meal in a pocket!  Crunch, creamy, warm and cool– what’s not to love?

Even better homemade!

Even better homemade!



Filed under Family, Food, Friends, Main Dishes

4 responses to “Since I Have The Deep Fryer Out…

  1. MLW

    Can’t wait to try.

  2. Katherine

    sounds delicious. I like falafel. I would like to try this. Totally unrelated food question. You said you chilled the falafel patties to firm them up. Would this work with meatballs too? I can never make them without them falling apart.

    • Yes, chilling helps any thing that’s bound with eggs, milk, etc., and bread/other filller stick together. Have you tried broiling meatballs? I switched to that because the fat drains off better than pan frying. Just put them on a broiler pan about 5-6 inches from the heating element. I make small ones and just throw them into sauce or broth to make Italian wedding soup.

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