The Surti Family Falafel Party
A few months ago, my dad came up with the idea of training some young and eager minds about gardening. His idea was a great one – teach them how to grow herbs, have them go home with some parsley seeds, and have a parsley growing competition amongst 10 or so kids (age 13-18) which would be judged by him and then use the parsley to make falafels for everyone! Unfortunately, the day he planned to host the training was the same weekend the flood hit Nashville. So, even though the gardening classes had to be delayed, he was committed to at least having everyone over at the house to enjoy falafels. And thus, began the Surti Family Falafel Party.
Who doesn’t like falafels? I love falafels…ok, I MAY even be addicted to falafels. Sometimes I want to make a trip to New York City to go to my favorite falafel place – Mamoun’s Falafels (it’s only $2!) for this addictive sandwich with crispy fried goodness, a fresh tabbouleh salad or maybe some crisp lettuce and tomato, a velvety tahini sauce, and some of that seriously addictive hot sauce. Sadly, I don’t live in NYC and much to the chagrin of some of my NYC friends (shouts to Nitin, Roochita, Abhishek!) I only get to visit maybe once a year. So I was determined to create a great falafel experience right here at home in Nashville, TN. The results were awesome.
We had a great turnout at the house on Saturday afternoon – people from ages 3-82, some coming in and staying for a while, others grabbing food and stopping by to say hi – and some even coming from out of the country! I’ve posted some pictures and recipes below so I hope you have fun throwing your own falafel party, or at least showing up to the next one we have!
Picture: Falafel Mix and Falafels, fresh out of the fryer!
FALAFEL RECIPE (adapted from Tyler Florence’s Eat This Book!), Serves 4-6
2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
1 tsp. baking powder
1 T freshly ground cumin seed
1 T freshly ground coriander seed
2 handfuls parsely
1 handful cilantro
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper
Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until uniform. (You don’t want to see chunks of chickpeas, but rather even distribution). Using a deep fryer or a large stockpot with 2 cups of oil (only let the oil go up 1/3 the sides of the pot), bring the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees. Fry the falafels until they are dark brown and cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Here is the rest of the spread and recipes for the tabbouleh and tahini sauce.
TABBOULEH RECIPE (serves 4-6)
1 cup of bulghur wheat
2 handfuls of parsely
1 handful of cilantro
1 handful of mint
1 bunch green onions
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 english cucumber, diced
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To cook the wheat, put it all in a bowl and cover with 2 c. of boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and let steam. The wheat should be cooked in about 20 minutes. Combine all the other ingredients and mix them into the wheat. Let sit for about 20 minutes to allow the wheat to soak up all the flavors.
TAHINI SAUCE (Serves 6):
1 cup of tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 cup of plain yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, pureed
2 jalepenos, minced
2 T honey
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Taste the sauce – if it’s too bitter, add more honey. Sometimes it can also use the other 1/2 of the lemon, but adjust it according to your taste. Season with salt and pepper.
Here are some more pictures from the party, which I thought you may enjoy.
Picture: My dad with cousin Krupa (left), My sister with our three year old nephew (right)
Picture: My mother, Lata, frying falafels (above), a few of the kids (from L-R, Maulin, Curren, & Renita), thoroughly enjoying their falafels (below)
Picture: My grandfather, who I affectionately call Dada, making his falafel sandwich.
That’s it for today. And since I’m a little bit new to this blogging thing, feel free to leave some comments/suggestions – I’d certainly appreciate it.