Recipe: Sudanese Falafel Dinner

This is a long-promised recipe on the blog, and one of our absolute favourite dinners. It’s based (loosely) on the incredible plates from Tutti in Berlin.

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The inspiration (and the best 5 Euros you can spend in Berlin)

The good news is, it’s actually pretty simple. The trickiest components are the falafel itself, and the sauce. Everything else is just (lots of; delicious) sides!

Makes enough falafel for 4 greedy people.

Falafel

  • 2 tins chickpeas, drained
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • good handful chopped fresh dill
  • salt & pepper
  • plain flour
  • baking powder
  • vegetable or sunflower oil for cooking

Whizz up a third of the chickpeas in a blender or with a hand mixer. You may need a tiny bit of water to get it going, but keep that to a minimum if you can. Bash the remaining two thirds up with a potato masher or a fork – you want to keep a bit of their structure.

Finely dice the onion and garlic, and mix together with both lots of chickpeas. Combine, and add flour a tablespoon at a time, mixing in until you have a mix that holds together when you roll it in your hand. Once you have the consistency right, add a heaped teaspoon of baking powder, the choppe20151113_201555d dill, and salt and pepper.

Roll the mixture into balls, slightly smaller than a golf ball. If they’re too large, they won’t cook in the centre.

Whilst you’re doing this, heat up the oil in a pan – be really careful if you’re doing this in a pan rather than a proper deep fat fryer. Never leave the oil unattended on the heat, and don’t overfill the pan with oil or with falafel.

We do this in a small saucepan, filled no more than halfway with oil. We then add the falafel in batches once the oil is hot (drop the heat down to medium/medium high and keep an eye on it whilst you cook – if it gets too hot, the outside will cook before the middle is done), with no more than 3 in the pan at once – adding the cold falafel will cause the oil to bubble up, and too many at once may cause the oil to bubble over the sides and catch the hob. It also lowers the temperature of the oil, so too many at once will also mean your falafel end up a bit anaemic looking, and greasier than they ought to be. Be safe, and use your common sense.

As each batch of falafel is cooked (when they’re a deep golden brown), lift them out and let them sit on a bit of kitchen roll for a while, to remove any excess oil.

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My hands are incredibly small, this falafel genuinely is smaller than a golf ball. 

Sauce – if you’re big on sauce, double-up the recipe

  • 2 generous tablespoons peanut butter (smooth works best, but you can use crunchy too)
  • juice of one fresh lime
  • 2-3 hot chillis
  • a little water

Put the peanut butter, lime juice, and chillis in a blender and blitz until smooth – you want the sauce hot and sour. Adjust to taste, adding more lime, chilli, or peanut butter as you like.

Add the water a tablespoon at a time and blitz again slowly. Keep adding until you have a smooth sauce.

Sides – adjust the quantities depending on how many of you there are!

  • potatoes – diced up and roasted with oil, salt, and herbs
  • carrots – chopped into sticks and roasted with oil, salt, and herbs
    • basically, any root veg you like works really well. Cut it all to the same sort of size, coat in a little oil and seasoning, and roast at 180C for about 20 mins (until soft and just browning at the edges)
  • cauliflower, broccoli, or sprouts – cut into bite sized pieces and roasted along with the root veg (but thrown in a little later)
  • olives
  • hummus
  • flatbread (we usually pick one up from our local turkish supermarket)
  • You can also include slabs or cubes of fried smoked tofu if you want to, to make the meal extra filling
  • pickles – if you can get that bright pink pickled turnip, it goes perfectly. Otherwise, gherkins and jalapenos do a fantastic job.

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