I love how creepy the internet can be. Most people have those Facebook friends they maybe met once, or had a class with years ago that they don’t talk to in real-life but keep up with their online activity. For me, that’s Emily. We had two classes together freshman year and honestly the only in-person memory I have of her is us walking from class number 1 to class number 2 and her mentioning the guy she was dating at the time. But we’re Facebook friends so I know so much more. We became Facebook friends when the site was still only for college students and it was a race to see how fast you could request someone after you met them.
I sometime cringe when I see people I barely remember pop up in my feed but it’s allowed me to be a voyeur to so many happy things. Years ago I saw that Emily launched a food blog and I became an avid reader. Her food is simple and good, and I felt all of the envy. My jealousy grew when I saw that she took a job doing social media for a florist. I don’t know anything about flowers but boy, did her job look fun from all of the pictures on Facebook. I think this is the beginning of a girl crush confession!
Her blog went silent for a while after she had an adorable son but she’s now back as Bacon is the Way to Happiness and I love seeing her posts pop up in my newsfeed.
Her shortcut falafel recipe is a great example of the straightforward eats she makes. Falafel is always a popular dinner at my house but hot oil is messy and my sad kitchen keeps smells around longer than I’d like, yuck. Emily has deconstructed the deep fried chickpea mounds and makes something that you can quickly turn around for dinner without splattering oil everywhere.
The other benefit of a scrambled shortcut falafel is that the delicious crispy chickpea filling is evenly distributed throughout your pita.
Traditional falafel suffers from the same problem as burritos, the ingredient aren’t mixed together. In a burrito you might have a bite that is just rice or another that is just guacamole and the same thing happens with falafel.
The crispy chickpea fritters can’t make it into every crevice of your pita so some bites are just hummus and vegetables, and others are only falafel. The perfect bite has a little of everything, it is a must!
Sidenote: I don’t understand why Chipotle doesn’t mix all of your burrito ingredients in a bowl first and then pile it into the tortilla. Such a better flavor experience.
But back to this shortcut falafel. Drained chickpeas are pulsed together in the food processor with shallots, garlic, and parsley until the mixture is chunky and coarse. Less is more with the food processor love here. If you go too long then things will get pasty and you’re on the way to weird hummus instead of falafel. Promise me you’ll be gentle.
Then a tumble of spices is stirred in: sesame, zatar, chili powder, cumin and paprika. Basically anything I have that registers as vaguely Middle Eastern goes in. If you like spicy then a little bit of harissa or chopped jalapenos would be good. A beaten egg helps keep the mixture together and a few tablespoons of cornmeal dries the mixture out so it browns instead of steams when you cook your scramble.
The rubble of falafel, is then seared off in a blazing hot cast-iron skillet. This is the most time consuming part of the recipe and you really only need to half pay attention. Stir every so often so each side of the pulverized chickpeas are browned and crispy.
I eat this mess spooned into a pita with hummus and cucumbers but the wannabe falafel is also awesome as pseudo croutons. Tossed into Israeli Salad, this shortcut falafel adds bulk and makes a side into a meal.
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon zatar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 egg, beaten
- In a food processor pulse together the chickpeas, shallot, garlic and parsley until the mixture is coarsely chopped. I pulse it 20 times. You want a chunky mixture, not a smooth paste.
- Add the spices and pulse five or six more times to get them evenly incorporated.
- Stir in a beaten egg and cornmeal.
- Let the mixture sit in the fridge for 10 minutes while you heat up your pan.
- Heat a large skillet, I like cast iron, over medium heat, for 5-7 minutes. You want this pan to be HOT. Falafel is usually fried so we want to develop a crispy exterior on our scramble.
- Once the pan is hot, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- Flatten the falafel mixture into the skillet and then leave it alone. Let it brown on one side, about 4-5 minutes and then you can start mixing it like scrambled eggs to let the mixture cook and brown.
- I cook the mixture for 10 more minutes, stirring every few minutes to evenly brown the mixture.
- Serve with pitas, hummus and sliced cucumbers.
- The mixture will last a few days in the fridge but will need to be recrisped in a skillet or else the mixture will be soggy.