Falafel-Pita Sandwich

Friday, June 24, 2011
Summer is ideal for picnics! Beaches, parks, riverbanks, trails, campsites are ideal for picnics. Picnics would never be complete without food and snacking! I have chosen the theme - Picnic Food for my blogging marathon this week. Yes, I will be continuously be posting recipes everyday for a week all revolving around the theme Picnic Food!

Food taken for picnics are dishes that taste great even when served cold, spill-proof and great eaten without the use of much cutlery. This falafel-pita sandwich is great for such situations. they can be made ahead and wrapped in plastic or foils and makes great picnic food. The falafels can also be prepared individually and then sandwiches can be assembled with the pita bread and the sauce just before eating.

Here is a simple and easy recipe for making great falafel-pita sandwiches. I have used hummus and greek yogurt as the sauce in this sandwich. Any kind of sauce can be used. I bought most ingredients from the grocery store except for the falafels which I made at home.

I used the kuzhipaniyaram pan to make the falafels more healthy with less oil. Falafels are traditionally deep fried. I have also tried baking the falafels. But we loved this version better.

Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches)
For the falafel
Dried garbanzo beans - 1 cup/16 oz. can of chickpeas
Onion - 1 medium sized
Garlic cloves - 2
Fresh parsley/coriander leaves - 2 tablespoons chopped
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

For the sandwich
Falafels - 8
Pita bread - 2
Cherry tomatoes - 12 (or) Regular tomatoes - 2
Onion - 1/2 cup chopped (optional)
Cucumber - 1
Greek yogurt - 4 tablespoons
Hummus - 4 tablespoons

To make the falafels
Soak the garbanzo beans overnight or atleast for 5 to 6 hours. Drain the chickpeas and pressure cook for about 10 minutes. If using canned garbanzo beans, you can skip the above step.
In a blender add the cooked and drained chickpeas along with all the ingredients listed under falafel and grind to a coarse mixture.
If using the kuzhipaniyaram pan, drizzle a little oil in each hole and place a lemon sized ball of the falafel mixture. Slightly press with the back of a spatula.

Cook on low heat for about two minutes on each side. Do not cook on high heat, because the outsides might brown too quickly and the inside might remain uncooked. Remove the falafels once cooked and allow it to cool. You can make these falafels ahead and refrigerate or freeze leftovers for future use. The falafels stay good in the freezer atleast for a month.

Alternatively, you can also make the falafels by deep-frying or baking them.

To assemble the sandwich
Take a pita bread and slice it into two equal pieces. You can toast the pita on a pan for a minute. this step is optional.

Open the pita pocket carefully, and smear one tablespoon each of the greek yogurt and hummus. Place two falafels in each sandwich. Top with your favorite toppings - cherry tomatoes, sliced onions, sliced cucumbers, coriander, parsley etc. You can also use tzatziki or tahini sauce as toppings.

Enjoy your falafel-pita sandwich!

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