Middle Eastern food is one of our favorite types of cuisines, but one that we don’t frequently cook. This dish is a mix and adaption from multiple recipes to fit our own tastes.
We’re always looking for an excuse to check out different food markets. We stumbled upon an awesome little Middle Eastern shop not too far away where we purchased falafel mix, pickled turnips, amba (pickled mango), tahini, and fresh pita. Seek one out where you live – especially to find amba!
There are many steps involved in making this recipe, but overall it is a simple dish.
For the falafel, we chose to use a box mix. We followed the package instructions. We recommend making and refrigerating this mixture at least one hour ahead of when you want to start frying.
An herby condiment, kind of like a pesto.
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1/3 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3 whole green cardamom, crush and chop
- 1 clove, ground
- 1/4 tsp honey
- 3 tbs water
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor or blender (on low speed). Start processing and slowly add your olive oil until everything has combined, but not completely smooth. It’s okay to add a little more olive oil, if needed. Taste and adjust for salt.
To eliminate this step, feel free to substitute with hummus.
- 1 cup of tahini
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2/3 cup of water, approximately
Place all the ingredients, except water, in a mixing bowl. Whisk together and add water, one third at a time. Don’t be alarmed if it gets thick quickly. As you add the water, it will thin. The ideal viscosity is similar to warm honey. Taste and adjust for salt and lemon, if you’d like.
- 1 english cucumber, diced small
- 7 small san marzano tomatoes, cherry or roma would work too, sliced in circles
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups picked flat leaf parsley leaves
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 2 tbs olive oil
- salt, to taste
Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix well. Taste and adjust for salt and acidity with red wine vinegar.
Now to build the dish –
Fill a medium sized pan with grape seed, peanut or sunflower oil – about 2/3 inch. Heat over medium low. We would not recommend using olive oil, it has a low smoke point. While your oil is heating, form your falafel into little patties. We like 4 falafel patties per person.
Gently place in hot oil, cook until a dark golden brown on both sides.
To assemble, warm your pita bread. Layer tahini sauce, then falafel balls, then generous scoops of cucumber salad. Add staggered dollops of zhoug and amba. Add pickled turnips and a little more drizzle of tahini sauce on top and enjoy!