Friday, February 4, 2011

Baked Falafel Pita Sandwich

This sandwich scores on so many criterion of my idea of meal that it has become one of my favorites. Lets see what are they..healthy, balanced, quick, tasty, liked by all in family ( read me and my husband, my toddler still refrains from table food). Hmmm..they are not many when listed but anyone who cooks daily knows how hard at times it become to satisfy them.

Mediterranean food is one of our favorites. And it is not that difficult to create popular dishes like Falafel, hummus, lentil soup, salads like fattoush at home.

These days most grocery stores carry one or the other kind of pita. After trying many different pita's we found a multi grain pita pocket at our regular grocery stop Kroger that we like. Other than that we like fresh baked pita sold by nearby by middle eastern specialty food store. I make falafel sandwich mostly with multi grain pita but feel free to use any kind of pits that you can lay your hands on.

Coming on to falafel the key component here, traditionally they are deep fried. Here have tried baking them and I absolutely do not miss the fat. Try them at least once for yourself. I bake a large batch and freeze them. Then assembling sandwich is a easy peasy.


For sandwich (6)

6 Pita pocket (You can halve the regular pita also)
12 tbsp Hummus (I use store bought, sun dried tomato, roasted red pepper etc)
Half Lettuce shredded (I use Mixed green salad)

For Tomato Onion relish
1 Tomato diced
1 Onion diced
1 tbsp Lemon juice
Red Chilli to taste
Salt to taste
Few sprigs of fresh chopped cilantro

For Baked Falafel
2 cups chickpeas soaked overnight (atleast 8-10 hours)
1 medium size onion chopped
2-4 Garlic pods
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
Red Chilli powder to taste
Handful of fresh cilantro

How to make Falafel

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Drain the soaked chickpeas.

Add everything to the food processor except baking powder.

Food processor is best suited for the task. I once used blender and had difficult time. To make blender work I had to add water which made the batter runny to be shaped in balls.

So grind everything using your chopper/ food processor adding as little water as you can everything is well combined. The final result would be little grainy in texture.

Spray a foil lined cookie sheet with cooking oil spray. Make golf sized balls of the batter. Press them lightly between palms and place them on cookie sheet. I like to spray the cookie sheet with cooking oil after placing the falafel's also.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or unitl dry and slightly browned. They would not brown too much but would be firm to touch when done.

These falafel freeze well for few days. Before using microwave them.

How to make Tomato Onion Relish
Mix all the ingredients.

Putting together the sandwich

Take the pita pocket and toast it slightly. I use panini grill for the task but you can very well use any griddle or non-stick pan. Spray with little oil on outside if you like. I did not do that.

Slather hummus inside the pita pocket very well. Break 1-2 falafel in pieces and add along with relish and lettuce in any order and amount as you fancy.