Falafels are little nuggets of pulses, herbs and spices served as street food in Middle Eastern and North African countries. They are cooked and served in flat bread wraps with salad and tahini dressing. Traditionally they are made with chickpeas but here I have made two versions, firstly replacing the chickpeas with bulghar wheat to make a homemade falafel, whilst the second recipe not only returns to the classic chickpea falafel but uses a ready made falafel mix available from supermarkets and specialist food stores – making a really quick and simple mid-week supper dish.
Bulghar wheat falafel with courgette and haloumi salad
250 g bulghar wheat
1 bunch spring onions
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch coriander leaves (about 30g)
1 tsp ras al hanout*
1 tbs chickpea* or rice flour
1 tbs tahini paste
juice 1 lemon
200 g baby courgettes
1 small cucumber
haloumi, thinly sliced
a handful rocket leaves
a few fennel or edible flowers (optional)
Preserved lemon yogurt
1 tbs finely chopped preserved lemon
150 g Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon clear honey
1 tbs chopped fresh coriander
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for shallow frying
flat breads, to serve
Pour boiling water over the bulghar wheat and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly and place in a food processor. Add the onions, garlic, coriander, ras al haout, chickpea flour, tahini paste, 1 teaspoon salt and a little pepper and blend to form a smooth green paste. Shape into 32 oval patties and set aside.
Make the preserved lemon yogurt dressing. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and speckled green. Very thinly slice the courgettes and cucumber (using a mandolin or potato peeler). Place in a bowl and add the rocket and a coriander leaves.
Heat 5 cm oil in a wok or saucepan and fry the falafel for 5 minutes until evenly browned, turning halfway through. Drain well on kitchen paper. Arrange the salad on a platter and top with the falafel. Serve with the yogurt dip, edible flowers if using and some flat bread.
* Ras al hanout is a Middle Eastern spice mix available from some supermarkets or specialist food stores. Chickpea flour is also known as gram flour and is also available from most larger supermarkets or specialist food shops.
Couscous salad with falafel and hummus sauce
150 g couscous
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 bunch roughly chopped fresh mint
1 bunch roughly chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs lemon juice
225 g packet ready-made falafel *
125 g Greek yoghurt
100 g hummus
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
a pinch hot smoked paprika
4 pieces flatbread or pitta pockets, to serve
Place the couscous and 1 tablespoon oil in a heatproof bowl. Add 150 ml boiling water, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes until the couscous grains are softened. Stir with a fork to separate the grains and then stir in the tomatoes, herbs, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil. Set aside.
Heat the falafel following packet directions. Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, hummus and half the cumin seeds in a serving dish and drizzle with the remaining oil, cumin seeds and paprika. Serve the hot falafel with the couscous salad, yogurt hummus and flatbread.
Both these recipes were first published by Grazia UK. Photographed by Ian Wallace