Friday, 20 January 2012

Falafel wraps

They say that women marry men like their fathers.  I won't tell you what exactly I think of my own father as I value the polite company that I keep in the virtual world.  However, I grew up living with my grandparents.  My grandfather was my dad in all intents and purposes other than in name.  I married a man just like him.

They both tell awful jokes.  Over and over and over again.  They both micro-manage their money and can tell you to the penny exactly how much is (or isn't) in their bank account at any given time.  They both eat to live.  I've mentioned before how I had to twist my grandad's arm to let us have spaghetti bolognaise for tea when I was little and how he considers Pink Lady apples an unnecessary luxury.

Throughout my teenage years, my grandma tried to introduce a little exoticness into the family diet.  Paprika sausages, kidneys turbigo, and fajitas but you could tell that my grandad only ate it because he was bought up to be polite.  I don't think he really enjoyed it.

But despite his unadventurous palate, he bought my gran a set of Readers Digest cookery books.  I remember her leafing through them and saying 'Ooh this might be nice' and being met with a look that said something along the lines of 'Faggots and peas will be fine, thanks'.  I don't think she ever cooked anything from them.

Falafel with minted yogurt
For years, my grandad has been trying to get me to bring them all home.  I finally selected a couple a few weeks back and finally, today, got round to choosing something from one of them to cook.  Certainly nothing that I could ever see the husband or my grandad eating unless they were bound to a chair and blindfolded whilst suffering Chinese water torture and having bamboo shoots shoved under their nails.  But I know my grandma would've loved this recipe had she had the opportunity to try it.

It's a low fat version of the Middle Eastern delicacy and so baked rather than fried.  I often buy falafel from Waitrose or Sainsburys but this is the first time I've ever made my own.  The recipe works as a whole, but I wouldn't use this one to make falafel if they were to be eaten alone - I often eat them straight from the packet.  Despite the delicate spicing, I felt they needed a touch of salt in the mixture to bring out the flavour (I taste-tested prior to cooking).  I'm sure the salt was omitted as it's supposed to be a healthy recipe - seasoning is often a personal thing.

The mixture was also soft and the falafel were very fragile.  They had to be turned really carefully during cooking and lifted carefully off the tray before serving.  But once wrapped in a flour torilla, and with the minted yogurt the flavour vastly improved.  I chose to not put tomatoes in my wrap - I need the ones in the fridge or Chilli Jam tomorrow and I don't really like them raw.  A pleasant and healthy lunch but I'm sure there are better recipes out there.

Recipe from Readers Digest Light Bites and Lunches

  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • good pinch of cayenne pepper
  • good pinch of turmeric
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 4 large pitta breads or wraps
  • 1/2 cos lettuce or 1 heart of romaine, shredded
  • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 8 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.  Lightly grease a baking tray.  Put all of the ingredients except  the carrot and coriander in a food processor and blend until quite smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the carrot and coriander.
  2. Shape the mixture into 16 flat, round patties about 3cm across and place them on the baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and lightly brown, turning them over halfway through the cooking time.
  3. Warm the the pitta or wraps and fill with the shredded lettuce and tomatoes.  Divide the falafels among them.  Mix the yogurt and mint, season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over the falafels.  Serve hot.


  1. I am working on a falafel recipe and knew you had cooked them before. You are right the mixtures using tinned chickpeas are always very soggy. The way round it is to soak dry chickpeas overnight and then drain them really well and use the recipe as it is otherwise

    sadia x

  2. Thanks lovely :)

    I have a recipe I keep meaning to try that uses gram flour instead of whole chickpeas. Look forward to reading about yours soon and will definitely try them! xx


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...