Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Maybe you have heard of falafel?  I am a HUGE fan.  I can't get Aaron to get into it no matter what I try.  I love the flavor, I love the crispy texture, and by gosh I love anything stuffed in a pita with tzatziki sauce.  Whenever we are in a Middle Eastern or Greek restaurant, you can be sure that I will choose the falafel.
But, pealafel?  Color me confused.  I was a tad scared this creation would be overly sweet due to the peas, and I was just unsure about the mint.  Who eats so much mint except in jelly form with lamb? 
I, Natalie Hinkley, have been to the other side of this pealafel recipe, and let me tell you this: it is damn delicious.  The outside is crisp while the inside is warm and soft with the freshness of the mint yogurt sauce.  To.die.for.  These even won Aaron over, Mr. Ihatefalafelguy. I may never make a falafel again, it is pealafels for this household!  

You will need:
1/2 TSP fennel seeds
1/4 TSP coriander seeds
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup of chopped fresh mint
3/4 cup whole fresh mint leaves
kosher salt
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed and drained
1 large shallot, rough chopped
1 clove garlic
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Sunflower oil for frying
2 large pita breads, cut in half to make pockets
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
1 large english cucumber sliced into rounds

A spice grinder and food processor are helpful too!

We start with a dry pan over medium heat.  Toast the fennel and coriander seeds for about 2 minutes until fragrant and darkened.  Next transfer to a spice grinder and pulverize them into a powder.

Time out to make the yogurt sauce.  In a small bowl mix the yogurt, 1/2 cup of chopped mint leaves and a healthy pinch of kosher salt.  Cover and refrigerate.  This sauce will be the topping on your pita pocket at the end.

Now, it can't get much easier - toss the 3/4 cup whole mint leaves, shallot, garlic, peas, edamame, ground spices, olive oil and salt to taste into the food processor.  Puree until smooth as it will get, noting the edamame won't completely grind down so well.

Move the puree into a bowl and add the chickpea flour.  This flour, in my experience, isn't crucial - you can use regular ol' flour instead.  I also tried it with whole wheat flour and it was pretty swell.  

Heat your oil in a pan over medium heat.  You want the bottom to be covered about 1/4 of an inch.  Keep a plate nearby with paper towels to place the cooked pealafel and absorb the excess oil.

With wet hands, form you pealafel rounds into a golfball size, then flatten into a patty.  There should be enough 'dough' to make around 12.  Drop carefully into the hot oil.  They will need about 2 minutes per side to get nice and browned.  remove from oil and let rest on the paper towel lined plate.

Pro-tips:  I made these one time and they fell apart as soon as they hit the oil.  I concluded that there was too much flour or oil in the mix.  When i followed the instructions more precisely they held better.  I also was having trouble getting the crispy outer crust.  It helped when I lightly dusted flour on the outside of the patty and made sure to not touch/flip them until the time was up.  Moving them around or over flipping the patties resulted in a mushy pealafel.  

Now that those easy peasy pealafels are fried and ready, we can assemble the pitas.  Cut your pita bread in half so you have two pockets fill with 2-3 pealafel patties, diced tomato, sliced cucumber and your minty yogurt sauce.  Enjoy!

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