My introduction to falafel was during my time in Ottawa many years ago. I worked in a clothing store for a while, and one day one of the girls I worked with suggested we stop at a Lebanese falafel food truck for lunch. I had no idea what a treat I was in for; I became a regular customer of that food truck! Ever since then, falafel has been one of my favourite foods. It seems to be an almost perfect food; it’s crunchy and golden on the outside and tender on the inside, very flavourful and savoury without being overly spiced, and substantial enough to be a satisfying meal…in addition to being very nutritious.
I searched for a while to find just the right falafel recipe, and I have found one I really like on Tori Avey’s blog. When I first started making it, I was serving it in pita bread, the way I’d had it from the food cart in Ottawa, but I’ve started having it just on top of a bed of arugula with a few other veggies thrown in and a couple of tablespoons of yogurt as a dressing. I find that I don’t need the bread, and it’s healthier to replace it with more greenery. It would also be really good with the traditional tahini dressing, but for a quick lunch, I like the simplicity of just tossing together the arugula and yogurt flavoured with a bit of lemon juice.
I wish I’d realized sooner how easy it is to make falafel at home; another great thing about it is that you can freeze the falafel balls once you’ve rolled them, and you have an almost instant lunch whenever the craving strikes. I fry mine in a small pot over medium-low heat, and only use about 1 inch of grapeseed oil in the bottom of the pot. I flip the falafel balls over after about 5-7 minutes, so they get a total of approximately 15 minutes cooking time.
Tori Avey’s site has excellent instructions and photographs for making the falafel, so I won’t re-write her recipe here. Today I chopped up a radish to go with the handful of arugula and yogurt. I use about a teaspoon of lemon juice in 1/4 cup of yogurt.
*As far as oxalates go, I couldn’t find soaked but not boiled chickpeas, so I’m not sure what the oxalate content would be, but I’m guessing they would be similar to the cooked, as they are soaked overnight (which is medium).