Chickpea patties - Falafel

Sandwiches of these tasty fried patties are classic Middle Eastern street food. Although some versions use fava beans in addition to chickpeas, most recipes use only chickpeas. Falafel can be made with canned chickpeas or with a packaged mix, but fresh
falafel has the best texture and flavor. The original source of the recipe is from the book 'Cooking the Middle Eastern Way' by Alisom Behnke.

What we need:

250 gr dried chickpeas
2 tsp. baking soda
2 small onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
some fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
200 ml plain yogurt
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. lemon juice
olive or vegetable oil for frying
3 large pita pieces, cut in half
2 small tomatoes, chopped

What we have to do:

1. Place chickpeas in a large bowl or baking dish with 1 tsp. of the baking soda and cover with water. Refrigerate and leave to soak for 24 hours.
2. Drain chickpeas in a colander. Rub them lightly between your hands to remove skins. Rinse well.
3. Combine chickpeas, half the chopped onions, 2 cloves of garlic, and all of the cumin, coriander, parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne
(if using) in a food processor or blender. Process until the mixture becomes a thick, smooth paste.
4. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add remaining tsp. of baking soda. Cover and let sit, unrefrigerated, for 30 minutes.
5. To make tahini sauce, combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, and 1 clove garlic. Stir with a whisk until well blended. Cover and chill.
6. Use your hands to form chickpea mixture into patties.
7. Pour oil into a saucepan or deep frying pan. Heat over medium heat, until oil bubbles slightly when you dip a corner of a falafel patty into it. Carefully use a slotted spoon to place as many patties in the pan as fit comfortably. Fry 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain.
8. To serve, fill the pocket of each pita half with 2 or 3 patties, some chopped onion and tomato, and a bit of tahini sauce.
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