Saturday, January 22, 2005

IMBB #11: Beans, beans... you know the rest

I spent a lot of time thinking about this month's IMBB, hosted by Cathy over at my little kitchen. Typically when I eat beans, they are of them plain or refried with hot dogs variety. It wasn't until I reached into my fridge, looking for a snack, and pulled out some hummus that it hit me: chickpeas.
My first thought was to make hummus. I figured that with a theme like Beans, other people might be making hummus, too. I opted for falafel instead - besides, I already had pitas.

I love falafel, but they're not the healthiest things. The ingredients are super healthy, but they're traditionally fried. This makes them nice and crispy, but I wanted something less greasy so I decided to oven "fry" mine. You might also notice that they're a bit greenish, which is a result of using fresh parsley and cilantro in the recipe rather then dried. I won't discriminate against falafels of different colors as long as they all taste good.

This recipe originated on Food 911 and made about 24 golf-ball sized falafel patties. I served them on pita bread with cucumbers, tomato, lettuce and a combination of hummus, tahini and sweet chili sauce. They froze really well and heated up in the microwave in just a minute. I would definately make them again in a heartbeat.

Oven Baked Falafels
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked 18-24 hours
1 tsp baking powder
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 handfuls fresh parsley
1 handful fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
Soak dried chickpeas 18-24 hours, covered, in 4 cups of water.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Drain and rinse chickpeas and combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and well-combined.
Spray foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray.
Shape into large, round tablespoonfuls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until dry and a bit firm to the touch.

Note: Be generous with the salt and pepper as you're making them. The first batch I made was underseasoned.
If you want them to be golden all over, I recommend flipping them halfway through baking or switching your oven to broil for the last minute. I tried spraying them all over with cooking spray and it had very little effect. My tasters actually prefered the ones that I hadn't sprayed a second time.

I'm already looking forward to the next IMBB. Fortunately, I have the next Sugar High Friday to keep me occupied. You're not participating yet? How can you not love puff pastry? Plan your entry together soon, entries are due on February 11th.