Spicy little “falafel’ that hold together well and can be made to what ever size suits in the moment – pan fry them bake them or waffle them. Make them into little snack size balls and serve canape style with chilli sauce and or a citrus tahini, wrap them in a tortilla, a lettuce burger or on top of a salad, waffle them for a power breakfast, or maybe even try them with a curry sauce or dahl and some naan breads or chapati and a cucumber raita….
I am of course waiting to be struck down by the middle eastern food gods for calling these falafel – no chickpeas? carrots? …madness! In my defence – I do feel that these capture the feeling of the falafel I know and love and offer something a little bit same but different to try.
As I was making these and thinking about flavours, I got a little distracted, wanting to share my thoughts on caramelising onions. The humble onion is the perfect, affordable, accessible, non seasonal vegetable for creating unbeatable umami flavour. Herbs and spices hit the high notes of flavour but the caramelised onion base in anything you cook with onions gives a balanced, comforting, deep flavour base. It gives what ever you cook – soup, meat sauce/ragu, frittata… the unmistakable feel of something cooked with patience, skill and an understanding of flavour.
I’m not talking about anything tricky or requiring great skill – all the caramelising of onions requires is a pan and a little attention – it is too easy to try and hurry, or get distracted and burn your onions, or worse still not allow them to cook gently and caramelise, but for a little attention to detail you will be rewarded with great flavour. Today I used olive oil but depending on what you are cooking a mix of butter and olive oil works equally as well for this purpose.
CARROT AND HARRICOT BEAN “FALAFEL”
Enough for four people as part of a vegetarian meal or a crowd for part of a meze or antipasta
- 1 cup of dry haricot beans – soaked, rinsed and seasoned with garlic and 1 tsp salt and cooked until tender. Makes 2 cups of cooked beans (you can use tinned beans)
- 1 large or 2 small onions finely chopped
- 3-4 carrots = 4 cups grated
- Approximately 1 tsp salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp ground corriander
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 3/4 cup chickpea flour
- olive oil for cooking
Heat a large pan with a generous coating of olive oil over a medium heat.
Add diced Onions, salt, pepper and cumin seeds and continue to cook until caramelised. This will take 5 -10 minutes at lest, watch the pan and stir often.
Add the rest of your spices and cook for another minute to release the flavours.
Add all the grated carrot and stir and cook for another couple of minutes to mix and wilt the carrot down a little.
Add the cooked beans and the chickpea flour and stir to combine.
Put all the mixture into your food processor and pulse to combine. I think you could also mash this together but I haven’t tried this.
If the mixture is to hot to handle allow it to cool and then shape and cook. Alternatively you can chill this and use over the next day or two as you need.
Shape as desired – I have hand rolled these but you could use an oiled 1/4 cup measure and for portion controlled falafel and or shape them into balls, discs or patties.
Drizzle with a little oil before cooking on a lined baking tray, lightly oiled pan or waffle cooker.
To cook these my preferred method is in the oven at 170’c for half an hour, you can also use the trusty waffle cooker and avoid turning on the oven, or you can fry them in a pan over a gentle heat turning regularly so as to not burn them.
Here is a delicious spin on my power breakfast to start a busy day. Not sure as yet what power activities that is going to be today – but I’m ready!