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Snackshot of the Day: Falafel Platter

Snackshot of the Day: Falafel Platter

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Photos of all things food and drink from The Daily Meal

The Daily Meal's editors, contributors, and readers dig into some pretty great restaurants, festivals, and meals. There's not always enough time to give a full review of a restaurant or describe in depth why a place, its food, and the people who prepare it are noteworthy, so Snackshot of the Day does what photographs do best, rely on the image to do most of the talking.

Today's Snackshot is of falafel. Falafel is a dish made from crushed up chickpeas mixed with various spices, formed into balls, and fried. It can be served by itself, or in a sandwich or wrap. The falafel platter pictured is served at Zorba's Café, a Greek restaurant near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. They serve a variety of sandwiches, salads, and soups.

Read more about The Daily Meal's Snackshot feature. To submit a photo, email jbruce[at], subject: "Snackshots."

Follow The Daily Meal's photo editor Jane Bruce on Twitter.

Vegan hummus platter with falafel, tabbouleh & makali

I love Arabic food. One of the reasons could be that I was born in Kreuzberg and grew up with lots of different foods from all over the world. And still today, I love to visit all the Arabic restaurants in Kreuzberg and Neukölln together with my friends. Another reason could be that I am visiting a Syrian family every week and therefore get to know a lot of Arabic dishes like this vegan mujaddara, I love, love, love! And even though the selection of Arabic dishes is very diverse, most people think of hummus and falafel first. And even though there are a lot of damn good dishes, I could eat falafel and hummus every day.

So I had a look at the different ways of preparing hummus and falafel and developed recipes that you can easily cook at home. However, I would like to mention first: There are countless ways to prepare hummus and falafel, and sometimes it seems to be a science, cause every chef, restaurant, website, and region prays to have the only and best original recipe. So I just prepared the food the way I like them best, ha! Although hummus and falafel play the main role, we also prepared a fresh tabbouleh (parsley salad) and makali (fried vegetables) and added some olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and Arabic bread. A beautiful buffet to share with your friends!

For the hummus, there are different ways of preparing the chickpeas. We recommend taking dried chickpeas and soaking them overnight. However, we also added a version for canned chickpeas. For the falafel balls, we would definitely recommend using dried chickpeas and soaking them in water overnight. Chickpeas in cans are boiled - but for falafel, you only need soaked chickpeas. This makes a big difference in the consistency!

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water and drained**
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat parsley leaves
  • 5 cups safflower or other neutral oil, for frying
  • kosher salt
  • one (10-ounce) container of Sabra Lemon Twist Hummus
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, for garnishing
  • twisted lemon slices, for garnishing
  1. Prepare the night before serving: Place the dried chickpeas in a medium saucepan, and cover them with a generous amount of cold water. Allow the chickpeas to soak for 8 to 12 hours (overnight). They will plump up substantially.
  2. Make the falafel bites: Drain the chickpeas well. Place them in the bowl of a large food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add the red onion, garlic, flour, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, cilantro, and parsley leaves. Pulse the mixture several times until it just begins to come together&ndashif it is too coarse, it will not hold. Place mixture in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Remove mixture from the fridge. Set aside a large plate lined with a paper towel. Pour the oil in a large deep skillet (you want the oil to be at least 1.5-inches deep), and place over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, shape the falafel mixture with your hands into 1-inch diameter balls. The falafel should come together when shaped, but be relatively delicate.
  4. Carefully place each falafel ball into the hot oil. Fry the falafel in small batches to avoid over-crowding the pan. Fry the falafel balls (flipping them continuously throughout the frying process) for 2 to 3 minutes, or until evenly browned on all sides. Carefully transfer them to the paper-towel lined plate, and sprinkle them lightly with salt.
  5. Spoon the lemon twist hummus onto a serving platter, and use the back of a large spoon to create a thin, even (elegant) layer. Serve the hot falafel on toothpicks, and place them directly on top of the hummus. Garnish the platter with chopped parsley and a lemon wedge twist, and serve immediately.

Falafel recipes

Make some falafel for an easy and satisfying veggie lunch. These Middle Eastern chickpea patties are delicious in burgers, pittas, wraps, salads and more.

Falafel burgers

A healthy burger that's filling too. These are great for anyone after a satisfying bite low in calories.

Homemade falafels

Cheap and dead easy to make - stuff our simple falafels into warm pittas with salad, or serve with couscous and hummus

Easy healthy falafels

Pair John Torode's easy falafels with soft flatbreads, well-spiced humous and crunchy pickles for a magnificent meze of a lunch, or a shareable starter

Freezable herby falafel

Make these delicious falafels using dried chickpeas, as opposed to canned, for the very best falafels. Stuff into pittas or flatbread, or pop into a lunchbox

Falafel Pita Sandwich

One of the most quintessential and beloved of Middle Eastern foods is the falafel sandwich, a warm pita bread stuffed with crispy hot falafel balls, surrounded by cool and crunchy diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, and drenched with nutty tahini sauce. All ingredients for this wonderful dish are easily found in standard supermarkets, and although it has many components, its simplicity makes it a wonderful weekday lunch or dinner, or a meal-prep staple that you can cook and freeze.

Falafel has gained notoriety in the U.S. thanks to halal street carts and food trucks that proudly make and serve this Middle Eastern treat. But falafel is also found on the menus of most Mediterranean restaurants, and as a vegan and vegetarian meal, it has gained popularity as it is filling and delicious.

Falafel is traditionally made from chickpeas. It can be fried or baked for a lighter version. Restaurants sometimes serve falafel as a platter, over a bed of rice, but stuffed into pita bread is the more popular, easy, and on-the-go version. In the Middle East, it shares popularity with the sabich sandwich, a pita stuffed with eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, Israeli salad, hummus, and amba sauce.

For our recipe, you'll need to have ready falafel balls, from scratch or from a mix.

How to Make Weeknight Falafel

It might surprise you to hear, that after living in Germany for over a decade, my favorite meal was not schnitzel nor bratwurst and sauerkraut, but a shawarma platter found at a neighborhood spot in Berlin, a city home to a robust Turkish and Middle Eastern community. I have brought many a visiting friend to enjoy this platter—packed high with baba ganoush, herby tabouleh, spiced meat, pickled radishes, bright salad, light and fluffy falafel, and tons of citrusy vinaigrette, tahini sauce, and tiny pomegranate jewels—and have sent many wary travelers its way. Since leaving Berlin a few years ago, I have waxed poetic about this shawarma platter, missing it desperately when my new local Middle Eastern chain isn't hitting the spot.

How to Make Chicken Shawarma in Just 22 Minutes

I was thrilled when Epi's Food Director, Rhoda Boone, created these quick shawarma-spiced chicken pitas. But making falafel—chickpea fritters that are usually deep-fried in a ton of oil—just didn't seem like a realistic choice for a weeknight.

I knew, however, that if I could come up with a falafel recipe that was both quick (or at least, could be made in under an hour) and baked (cutting out the need for messy deep-frying), then I could have falafel any day of the week.

To cut down on chopping time, I pulled out the food processor and pulsed canned chickpeas, garlic, red onion, and plenty of spices and herbs into a flavor-packed falafel mixture. Thanks to a brushing of veggie oil and a high oven temp, the baked falafels came out with a nice, crisp crust that closely mimics the crunch of their fried counterparts. But they were lighter than fried falafels, with a nice airy texture. Plus: there was no messy, post-frying clean-up to deal with, making the dish totally weeknight-feasible.

To serve with the falafel, I brightened tahini sauce with the sweet, tangy flavors of the orange juice–spiked dressing served at that Berlin falafel joint. Quick-pickled red onions and a cabbage and tomato salad are also lively and filling additions. If you have extra herbs, especially mint and cilantro, chop and stir into the falafel mix. And when the season's right, finish the dish with a few pomegranate seeds on top, just like they do in Berlin.


Food For the Champions (Breakfast)

We serve freshly made hummus and falafel with coffee or tea. Food for the champions can serve 2-3 persons. It’s a healthy food combination in one selection. Regular customers will get offers & coupons. We offer generous serving portions, so bring your friends.

Vegetarian Platter (New)

Our restaurant believes that nothing is comparable to health. And the food is a big factor in having a healthy body. With the increasing demands for our version of the ultimate vegetarian dish, we bring you the Vegetarian Platter.

Alqud’s Signature Grilled Chicken

To all our customers who wanted to have juicy grilled chicken (Mediterranean style), your wait is over. Normally, grilled chicken cooked in Mediterranean style is dry with a hint of spices in every bite. We came up with a new cooking method that lets the chicken keep its moisture. This is a must-try.

How to Make Falafel at Home

Two experts share their tips and tricks for making the beloved Middle Eastern street food.

Falafel — those crunchy, fluffy, fried balls of heaven that are often stuffed into pita bread — is pretty easy to come by. There are falafel-centric restaurants all across the world, from Michael Solomonov’s Goldie in Philadelphia to famed Paris hotspot L&aposAs du Fallafel. That makes consuming a falafel sandwich, whether it&aposs at the end of a long night or in the middle of a busy workday, almost a no-brainer. While making your own version of the Middle Eastern street food might require a little more effort, it&aposs actually less work than you might think.

Chef Einat Admony, owner of the New York City fast-casual falafel restaurant Taim, says that DIY falafel is simple. While Admony’s base recipe includes chickpeas, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, onion, and garlic, other herbs and vegetables can be mixed in to create different renditions on the classic.

No matter the add-ons, Admony says that the single most important thing about making falafel is leaving the chickpeas raw. 𠇊 lot of people think you cook the chickpeas,” Admony says, 𠇋ut you don’t. Just soak the chickpeas ahead, overnight, in cold water.”

In a further kick of myth-busting, Admony recommends refraining from using baking soda or any sort of binder, like breadcrumbs. The ingredients should hold themselves so long as they’re not too wet, and they’ll naturally create that characteristic fluffiness.

Caitlin McMillan, chef of the previously-mentioned Philly falafel joint Goldie, would likely agree with Admony, as Goldie&aposs falafel doesn&apost contain any added flours, animal proteins, or dairy. According to McMillan, the key to making falafel is mixing the ingredients just enough.

"If it&aposs over-mixed, the falafel will have a dry, bouncy texture. If it&aposs under-mixed, it will not come together like a batter," McMillan says. "A perfect falafel mix can almost form a ball in your hand without breaking apart." This tip is important when it comes to frying, since you&aposll want to make sure that the falafel mixture doesn&apost crumble once it hits the hot oil.

On the frying note, one of the biggest challenges of making falafel at home is the fact that many home cooks don’t have a deep fryer. But that shouldn’t be a deterrent, because falafel can be fried just as well over the stove. McMillan recommends using 6-quart heavy bottom stainless steel pot, although any not-too-shallow pot will do. When it comes to choosing a frying oil, McMillan opts for canola. Admony usually goes with grapeseed oil since, as she says, “It’s not going to make the house smell.”

In order to drain the oil, McMillan uses a technique familar to cookie bakers. She says, "I lay the falafel onto a cooling rack that is on top of a baking sheet, allowing the oil to fall away from the falafel instead of sitting in it."

Another, healthier option for homemade falafel is to throw the balls in the oven to bake. But it&aposs a style that Admony doesn’t condone. “It’s ridiculous,” she says. “If people are afraid of fried food, they shouldn’t eat falafel.” McMillan also prefers the fried version, saying, "When you&aposre frying the falafel you&aposre creating a darker, crispier texture – pure flavor."

To ease the fried food pain, serve your homemade falafel with fresh vegetables. Admony likes to make hummus on the side, as well as a chopped salad made of tomato, cucumber, and red onion, dressed with lemon, olive oil, and salt.

Whether piled into pita or sprawled out on a platter, making falafel at home is both delicious and rewarding, especially because there are endless ways to personalize the chickpea dish, from adding spring peas to making tacos.

Pan-Fried Falafel Recipe

Falafel, once rarely known, is now one of the most common Mediterranean recipes cooked around the world. You can have them just as snack with humus or other dips. It also is a great meatless substitute for burgers. Some choose to stick with pita sandwiches or gyros. This flexibility of serving falafels in many different ways makes them a great hit for tailgating parties, festivals, family gatherings and other occasions.

Evolution of Falafel in my Kitchen

Evolution of healthy pan-fried falafels in my kitchen is a story in itself. When I visited Amsterdam for the first time back in 2008, my brother-in-law introduced me to this popular street food there. I had never heard about the falafel pita sandwich before and in those cold January winter evenings those warm falafels just tasted divine. For rest of that trip and many other trips, Falafel continued to be our family&rsquos dinner choice.

Back home in USA, I tried falafels in different restaurants, but I was not satisfied with the taste. One day I saw a falafel mixture box in the grocery store and I instantly grabbed one to try out at home. I made a few batches with that box in unsuccessful attempts to recreate the taste that I had in my nostalgic memories of the first falafel sandwich.

Most of the ingredients listed on the falafel box were readily available in my home pantry, so I started trying making them at home with fresh ingredients. This was a complete game changer in terms of flavors. Fresh parsley and cilantro added so much herb-y flavor to the falafels. Since then, every time I try a slightly new version of the recipe.

How to make Healthy Falafel?

Falafel is a very healthy and cheap recipe to fulfill our daily nutritional needs. With chickpeas as the main ingredient, falafels can be a great source for protein and fiber when cooked in the right manner. The original falafel recipe calls for deep frying, which significantly increases the carbohydrate to protein ratio. Hence over a period of time, I have tried and tested many falafel recipes with different methods of cooking.

This cooked chickpea version came into existence as a result of my attempts to make it suitable for my kid’s palate. My kids are very sensitive to food texture hence I modified the previously posted recipe by using boiled chickpeas instead of raw soaked chickpeas, which brings a much smoother texture in falafels. I have also added some vegetables to make them even more moist.

During my initial trials, I first came up with low-fat falafel recipe using soaked chickpeas, which is the authentic way of making falafels. But instead of deep frying, I used aebleskiver or takoyaki pan to make it low fat. This version also turns out to be the lighter compared to previous low-fat version. Every time I make it, it is a super-hit in the family and friends.

The Best of New York: Falafel

Originally from Tel Aviv, Taïm owner Einat Admony knows how to make falafel. In fact, Admony and her small staff make three different kinds of falafel — green, harissa and red — at this cash-only West Village hot spot with a name that means "delicious" in Hebrew. And each flavor is just as tasty, and surprisingly grease-less, as the last. The old family recipes that Admony uses are not only kosher but totally gluten free, and include no fava beans or baking soda, which many places use to make their falafel balls fluffier. Plus, the thick tahini sauce is never watered down. Really, you can't go wrong ordering falafel at this cozy, colorful cafe, which is important since there are so many options at Taïm. Besides the three flavors of falafel, choose a sandwich for $6.25, a sampling for $4 or a platter for $12. But the best news yet? Admony will be opening another restaurant in Nolita in the upcoming weeks. So let's hear three cheers for chickpeas!

106-12 71st Ave., Forest Hills, Queens (718)793-7177

Located under the LIRR tracks in Forest Hills for over 11 years, Pahal Zan is quite literally a temple of food. As owner Shai Asayag points out, the food served at his Mediterranean grill is "instilled with spirituality and imbued with the conciousness of the Moroccan kaballa tradition." It's heavenly in taste, as well, especially the falafel, which costs $6.99 for a sandwich and $14.99 for a platter. Indeed the chickpea-heavy falafel is perfectly crunchy on the outside and moist inside. Asayag believes it is medicine, but medicine has never tasted this good. The righteously smooth texture combined with the complex yet not overwhelming taste makes the always fresh falafel balls seem to melt in your mouth. And while Pahal Zan might skimp on interior decoration, it doesn't on food. The sandwiches are loaded with vegetables and tahini, and the platter is a mountain of humus, babaganoush, potato salad, eggplant and cole slaw.

100-05 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, Queens (718) 880-2055

When you walk into a restaurant named Wafa's, ideally Wafa would greet you at the door. On a busy stretch of Metropolitan Ave. in Queens, across from a pawn shop and an auto-parts store, Wafa does not disappoint. Neither does her falafel, derived from an old family recipe that is heavy on parsley and cilantro, but light on fava beans. At $5, the falafel sandwich is perfectly wrapped so as not to lose a drop of velvety tahini sauce. The falafel side, which features six pieces, has a fresh taste that makes you feel like you're eating a salad. And, best of all, everything is made in-house, from the hot sauce to the pickled turnips. With a mom and three sons working at the restaurant, Wafa's is truly a family affair and the familial love is evident in both the food and the warm and caring dining experience.


Oasis in Williamsburg! Amazing and cheap! Also heard great things about Chickpea on Bergen in Park Slope (not the same as the chain in the city). Sounds delicious! — L. Basloe

Alfanoose Restaurant (8 Maiden Lane) has the best falafel in town, bar none. Generous portion, great fixings, always well prepared. And the price is great. The only place I go when I really want a falafel. I've gone to this restaurant since the place was a hole in the wall, and they keep getting better and better. I know that they have other menu items that look so tempting. But every time I get to the counter, I always say, "Falafel with everything." It's like a reflex! — C. Carr-Johnson

Pitopia (1369 Broadway, at W. 37th St.) is amazing. From the fluffy pita, to the tasty falafel balls and salads, everything is fresh and YUUMMMM. You'll understand with your first bite!! — Nisi Z.

Soom Soom's (166 W. 72nd St.) falafel is so fresh, it is still green on the inside, and you can smell it the second you walk in. Their salad bar is stocked with delicious options, and their "Hagalil," a deep-fried spiral potato on a stick, is not to be missed. But even just for their falafel alone, it's worth the trip, and the mention on your pages. Go. Try. Enjoy. Print! — P. Landsberg

Watch the video: Lebanese Cuisine. Lebanon. Cultural Flavors. EP 13 (August 2022).