To continue on the Middle Eastern food excursion I appear to have embarked upon, I decided to make my favourite comfort foods from scratch, Falafel & Hummus + a Quinoa (I know it’s Bolivian, but still a fine protein-filled accompaniment) Tabbouleh salad which was adapted from the Vegan Planet cookbook. I have added these recipes in the order I made them.
I’ll start with my Hummus method, It’s worth mentioning that I’ve tasted hundreds of home made hummus’ and can honestly say that other than some fine creations I’ve eaten in restaurants, I tend to prefer shop-bought versions, sad but true, (this possibly gives away too much about my general eating habits). I find home made varieties too heavy on the Tahini, not well mixed, too oily or terribly bland for my taste buds, so setting about making my own was a personal challenge. This is what I did:
- 200g of Chick Peas (canned)
- 1 tablespoon of Tahini
- 5 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 3 gloves of Garlic (crushed)
- Salt (pinch)
- 1/2 tablespoon Paprika
- 1/4 tablespoon Cumin
- 1/2 cup Water
- Drain chickpeas then combine with lemon juice, garlic & 1/4 cup of water (approx), mix together in a blender until mixture is smooth (or to preferred texture).
- Add Tahini, Olive Oil, Salt, Spices & a further 1/4 cup of water and blend further until all are mixed together, if the mixture looks too dry add an extra splash of cold water.
- & most importantly, taste test the mixture, if it tastes too bitter, there is possibly too much tahini or lemon juice for your tastes so add a little more water, oil & spices to lessen it. If it tastes too bland, then there is likely to be too much chickpea for your tastes, add a little more of the spices, garlic, lemon juice and a tiny pinch of salt, keep testing the flavour until you are happy with it.
- Serve, I added a few left over chickpeas and a sprinkling of paprika to garnish the finished batch, parsley is also a great Hummus garnish.
As a footnote, this Hummus was finer than any shop bought derivative and was the most divine I have ever made, I was exceptionally proud it and hope never to buy supermarket chain hummus again for any reason other than personal indolence.
Quinoa Tabboleh Salad
Makes 4 – 6 large servings
- 1 cup of uncooked Quinoa
- 500ml Water
- 2 medium Tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of Red Onion (minced)
- 1/2 cup of canned Aduki Beans (drained & rinsed)
- 1/2 cup of fresh Parsley (minced)
- 4 tablespoons of Coriander (chopped)
- 1/3 Cup of Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
- Ground Black Pepper
- Pinch of Salt
- Follow instructions in washing Quinoa and rinse throughly to remove the bitter white coating, then drain.
- Boil water in a medium sized saucepan adding a tiny pinch of salt, when boiled add the Quinoa.
- Cook Quinoa on a low heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Allow to cool and blot with kitchen roll to remove any excess moisture.
- Place Quinoa into a large serving bowl, when cooled add Tomato, Aduki Beans, Parsley & Coriander.
- In a small bowl combine Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Pepper and any remaining salt. Mix together throughly then pour over Quinoa and mix evenly through the salad.
- Pop into the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes before serving.
Now for my variation on my favourite Middle Eastern fast food Falafel:
Makes 8 large, 10 small Falafel
- 3/4 cup plain Flour (white or wholemeal)
- 1 can of Chickpeas
- 1 medium Onion, chopped
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons of fresh Coriander, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of ground Cumin
- Cooking Oil
- Cold Water
- Drain chickpeas and place in a pan, cook in 2 cups of fresh water bringing to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Then drain & cool.
- When cooled, mash chickpeas (I used a wide pronged fork & a shoulder power for this, as potato masher wasn’t up to the challenge).
- Mix in garlic, onion, coriander, cumin and continue to mash.
- Add flour and mix until mixture becomes a thick paste.
- To roll into ball shapes, wet your hands with a little water, take the mixture and roll in to ping pong ball sized balls and slightly flatten.
- Shallow fry until golden brown, (7- 8 minutes) you can deep fry in 2 inches of cooking oil, for a quicker cooking time.
We ate all three of the above with heated pitta bread (which like baked beans, are far cheaper & easier to buy than to cook from scratch)