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Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

Golden brown chick pea patties with tzatziki cucumber sauce.

Manna in the wilderness

When the Children of Israel fled from Egypt they experienced many miracles, not the least of which was walking across the Red Sea river bed. Traveling through the wilderness in the hot, sandy desert presented the imminent problem of obtaining food. How could they witness this miraculous water rescue only ‘to kill this whole assembly with hunger’ (Exodus 16:3)? Every day God sent Manna from heaven. These daily doses of wafers sweetened with honey (Exodus 16:31) were round (Exodus 16:14), perhaps like small pita bread. Seasoned with coriander (Exodus 16:31), they were familiar flavors of the region.

Falafel-Lunch-Plate-Lettuce-Tomatoes-Pita-Chips-AvocadoFeaturing some of these flavors, here is my homemade Falafel recipe. Sure I’ve made it out of a box mix but it doesn’t taste nearly as good as the fresh Falafels I’ve eaten on my travels in the Middle East. Pick up some fresh parsley and you’ve likely got the rest of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge if you keep ground coriander in your spice cupboard.

For the record, if I’m caught in a situation eating Manna from heaven, I hope it is seasoned with cinnamon and honey.

2011 AniversaRecipe – Cheddar Zucchini Bake

Recipe: Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 12 Minutes | Yield: 4 Servings | Level: Easy

Ingredients
Falafel-mixture-food-processorFalafel

  • 1 15-ounce can chick peas, drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepperFalafel-mixture-food-processor-triple-party-batch
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 – 1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • oil for frying
  • 4 pocket pita round sliced in half
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomatoes

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely dicedTzatziki-Sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp mayo or olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Special Equipment – food processor

Instructions
Tzatziki Sauce
1 In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, olive oil, 1 tsp lemon juice, cumin and salt. Place in the fridge to meld flavors.

Falafel
Falafel-mixture2 Place chick peas, onion, garlic, parsley, egg, 1 tsp lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, peppers and baking powder in a food processor. Process until it becomes a paste with fine texture but not smooth.

3 Dump the mixture into a bowl. Slowly mix in bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but holds together.

4 Form the mixture into 16 small patties.

5 Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a Browning-Falafelfrying pan to medium-high heat. Brown patties until golden on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side. Don’t over crowd. Remove to a rack placed over a sheet pan to drain.

Assembly
6 Place 4 falafel in each pita pocket. Spoon Tzatziki sauce over and add shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.

Information
Notes
Falafel can also be made without a food processor. Using a fork or pastry cutter, break down the chick peas and add finely chopped onion, garlic and parsley. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients as directed.

Chick peas are also called garbanzo beans. When draining the chick peas, save the liquid to adjust the consistency of the mixture as desired.

To seed a cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and drag a small spoon down the middle to remove the pulp and seeds. This part of the cucumber would make the Tzatziki Sauce too runny.
Seeded-CucumberFinely-Diced-Cucumber

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally, Falafel is made in balls rather than patties. Patties are easier to brown on both sides and require less oil. Make balls as desired, but use a little more oil for browning on all sides. They could also be deep fried in a large quantity of oil.

Applications
 Fresh-Lettuce-and-Garden-Ripened-TomatoesFor Middle Eastern appetizer, serve with tzatziki as dipping sauce. Falafel pairs well with hummus and pita chips.

Serve falafel patties as a lunch plate with pita chips, tzatziki sauce, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Garnish with fresh parsley and add sliced avocado.

 

Dish Designer
Pita-Bread

  • Exchange pita pocket bread for pita rounds. Fold in half with falafel inside similar to a taco.
  • Exchange 2 teaspoons of fresh dill for 1 tsp of dried dill.
  • Increase cayenne for more heat as desired.

Falafel-Lunch-Plate-Lettuce-Tomatoes-Pita-ChipsInspiration – Sean’s Falafel

SaucyCuisine.com
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: August 1, 2012

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9 Responses to Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

  1. Audrey August 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    These are my favorite felafels I’ve ever had. Love these.

  2. Jo Ann August 4, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    We love falafels. In addition (or instead of) the lettuce and tomatoes we sometimes add shredded cabbage, sliced pickles or banana peppers, chopped cucumbers, and even grated cheese for fun.

    • helenhorton August 5, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      I love to add feta cheese and cukes with the diced tomatoes. Lots of good variations.

  3. Lindsay August 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Put this in the category of things I didn’t even think you could make at home. :) But I love falafel! I’ll have to get on these!

    • helenhorton August 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      This is really authentic, like falafel I had in the Middle East.

  4. Rachel September 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    We made these tonight. They were absolutely delicious–and we’ve had a lot of falafels from a lot of different places. Andrew made pita, I made the falafel and the tzatziki just like this recipe, and we had tomatoes, cucumbers, humus, and tahini. It was super delicious. Didn’t take much more effort than the box mix and tasted a million times better. Falafels have always been part of our regular meal rotation and we will never buy a box again.

    • helenhorton September 26, 2012 at 8:10 am #

      Andrew is a wiz at pita and pizza dough. Good guy to have around. Glad you love homemade falafel. Me too!!

  5. Jo Ann September 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    We tried your Falafel and Tsatziki sauce recipes yesterday. For good measure we also made a box mix of Falafel to do a taste test. Your Falafel recipe was the clear cut favorite! It has better flavor and texture and was easy to make. It is a winner. We also enjoyed the smooth flavor of the Tzatziki sauce–it is cool and a nice complement to the Falafels and veggies in our pita. We have lived a number of years in the Middle East and have eaten lots of Falafel in a number of countries–and yours rates with the best. Thanks.

  6. Jo Ann September 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I forgot to mention, we also made your hummus recipe to enjoy with our Falafels. It was delicious. We are hummus connoisseurs and really enjoyed this one. We like to eat it with pita triangles to dip in the hummus, or to spread inside our pita before we fill them with the Falafel and veggies.

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