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.
Featuring 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
- 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 pepper
- 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
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
- 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
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.
2 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.
6 Place 4 falafel in each pita pocket. Spoon Tzatziki sauce over and add shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: August 1, 2012