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I love falafel so much. When I was in Israel two months ago, I began to really fall in love with them. I mean, I’ve always liked them but didn’t really know what real falafel were. I used to buy me a falafel sandwich as lunch right next to my school. And I loved it. But after I came back from Israel, I didn’t even want to think about that falafel again. Seriously. I realised that they were probably deep-frozen and even saw that they heated them in the microwave. But I was convinced that those falafel tasted good. I don’t know what was wrong with me.

I have no idea why Israeli falafel taste so good, but well. I checked out some recipes and they basically had all the same ingredients. Can’t be so difficult, can it? (And you know what: My dad said that they almost tasted like the Isreali ones. My dad. Making compliments about food isn’t something which happens everyday here.)

For the pita bread (makes about 6 pitas, 10 cm diameter)

  • 200 ml luke warm water (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • a pinch of salt
  • 300 g all-purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the falafel (makes about 20 – 25, depending on their size)

  • 200 g dry chickpeas (1 cup), soaked overnight in enough water (they more than double their weight, about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • rapseed oil for frying

For the tahini paste

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt

The recipe for the pita bread is actually quite the same as a pizza dough recipe. Same ingredients, same amount of ingredients. The difference is obviously the baking procedure. Of course you can also simply go into the supermarket and grab a packaged pita. 

Mix the luke warm water with the sugar and the yeast. In a large bowl, mix the salt and the flour and make a mould. Pour the yeast water into the mould and let stand for 10 minutes, covered. Add the olive oil and with a fork or spoon, start to mix until you have to use your hands to form a shiny, slightly sticky dough. Cover your fingers with oil and “grease” the dough so that it doesn’t dry out. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for about an hour in a warm place.

Meanwhile prepare the falafel. Rinse the chickpeas. In a food processor, pulse them until they get roughly crushed, but not puréed. You might need to add some water.  Add the rest of the ingredients for the falafel and let the food processor work!

It may look like the whole thing will never hold together, but don’t worry, when you shape and fry them, they will.

When the pita dough has doubled its size, form the dough to a baguette-shaped roll on a floured surface. Shape 6 balls and with a rolling pin, roll them to nice little pita-shaped disks. Place them on a dusted surface and cover with a dish towel.

Prepare the tahini sauce. Mix the tahini with lemon juice and about 5 tbsp of water, or more, until you get a creamy or rather fluid consistency. Your choice. Season with salt.

For the falafel, heat some rapseed oil in a large non-sticking pan. The bottom of the pan should be generously covered. When the oil is hot, shape the falafel and fry them until they colour, about 3 minutes. Flip them and fry for another 2 – 3 minutes.

Place a baking sheet lined with baking paper in the oven. Preheat the oven to 260° C (500° F). When the oven is hot, bake the pitas for about 5 – 10 minutes, until they colour slightly.

Mouth watering, mouth watering, moooouth watering!!

This is how they do it in Israel. And then they stuff it with too much falafel and tomatoes. And onions. And maybe some chili or garlic paste. And tahini sauce.