Baked Falafel Wraps

Falafels in a wrap!

Falafels in a wrap!

The food fever has caught on. Baklava and hummus was always a rage, and as people are turning more global, the wonder delights of any new cuisine follows. Lebanese is my latest viral.
After my tryst with baking pita, next on the list was Falafels. The baked version. I’ve made them before but a baked one was to be my experiment. I waited for a Sunday.

Loaded with grilled veggies and hummus and tzatziki sauce

Loaded with grilled veggies and hummus and tzatziki sauce

A rainy dull gloomy beautiful sunday which wrecked the cable connection, home bound the inmates and re-ignited the love for board games. They removed a new one, in spite of me yelling not to. But the rapid commencement of outwitting each other at word formations, though mainly with my help, was contagious. Along with grinding chickpeas, rolling dough and chopping vegetables, my mind raced to form words! The joy of letters. Inexplicable.

Falafels are small round deep fried bullets made from highly spiced chickpeas. But if you want to ditch the oil, we bake or roast them on a griddle and it works just fine. A wrap with these spicy bullets, a bit of hummus, some tzatziki and grilled veggies makes any meal complete. A bit of planning is required, the chickpea need to be soaked for 6-7 hours and you need hung curd to make tzatziki. So yes, please plan and initiate.

FALAFEL WRAP

Lotsa layering

Lotsa layering

To make 6 wraps:

Ingredients

  • 18/20 Falafel bullets or discs or patties, recipe below.
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 6 heaped big spoons of hummus – one spoon each for every wrap
  • 6 heaped big spoons of tzatziki – one spoon each for every wrap
  • torn lettuce leaves
  • 6 tbsp of grilled vegetables, I used mushrooms, zucchini, coloured peppers and onions.
  • A bit of vinegary onions for each wrap
  • Sprinkle of lime juice
  • Sprinkle of chaat masala – optional

Method

Take each tortilla, spread one heaped tbsp of hummus on it. Place torn lettuce leaves covering half the tortilla. Now place 3 or 4 falafel discs in a straight line in the middle of the tortilla. Drop spoonful of tzatziki on the cutlets. Place grilled vegetables and pickled onions. Sprinkle lime juice and chaat masala. Cover both sides. Grill on a flat griddle/tawa if desired or serve as it is with more hummus and tzatziki by the side!

Ready to fold

Ready to fold

FALAFELS – BAKED

Chickpea Cutlets

Chickpea Cutlets

Ingredients

  • 2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight or for 6/7 hours
  • 1 red onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3 green chillies
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp ground roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 4 tbsp washed coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp flour or maida
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Oil for greasing

Method

Put all ingredients in the mixer, except flour/maida, baking powder and sesame seeds. Coarsely grind everything till everything is mashed yet not very smooth. Do not add any water. This is very important because you don’t want your splitting cutlets.

Once done, remove. Mix in the flour, baking powder and sesame seeds. Shape small balls of the mixture, flatten them slightly to form discs. Place them in a box or on a tray. Refrigerate for 2/3 hours. This step is crucial if you want firm well shaped falafels. Especially if you are deep frying them.

Once well chilled. Pre heat your oven to 175C for 10 minutes. Grease a baking tray well with oil. Take each falafel discs, slightly coat them with oil and place evenly on the tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes then flip and bake the other side for another 5-7 minutes.

If you do not want to bake or deep fry, then you can roast them on a non stick pan with a bit of oil till the sides turn golden and crisp. This works beautifully but uses a bit of more oil than baking.

Remove and use as required.

Lots of flavours!

Lots of flavours!

Note: Deep frying produces the best results. They are crunchy out and soft inside. But baking works well too, so please don’t forget the baking powder. It helps the cutlets with soft insides.

Note: Original recipe did not add any green chillies or mint. I used them generously because we love the flavour of mint and heat from the chilies. You can avoid them if you like.

Healthy snack option

Healthy snack option

I am not so neat with shapes and sizes… all my cutlets varied in diameter 😀 Mother would have been horrified 😉

Not so perfect in size :)

Not so perfect in size 🙂

GRILLED VEGETABLES, FLOUR TORTILLAS AND VINEGAR ONIONS

The add-ons don't stop!

The add-ons don’t stop!

For the Veggies – Julienne all the vegetables. I used zucchini, mushrooms, coloured peppers and onions. In a tsp of olive oil, sauté them till 3/4th done. Season with salt, pepper and red chill flakes.

For the Pickled Onions – soak sliced onions in 1/2 cup of vinegar, juice of 1/2 a lime and some salt. Keep aside for an hour. The colour of the onions and solution changes to pink.

For the Flour Tortillas – Take half and half wheat and all-purpose/maida four. Season with a bit of salt. Knead using half n half milk and luke warm water. Knead well. Keep aside covered for at least 30 minutes. Then grab portions of dough, roll into thin flat rounds, roast both sides on a hot griddle. You can make them before hand and use as required.

Grilled veggies and pickled onions

Grilled veggies and pickled onions

As you must have noticed, I put more pictures here than in any of my posts. Well. Thats because I took so many!! And then, spent almost half a day editing them. So they had to be used. don’t they?
A few more won’t hurt, I presume. 🙂

Protein rich Chickpea makes one delicious cutlet

Protein rich Chickpea makes one delicious cutlet

She is one big sucker for dips and spreads. Every bite was relished with more hummus and more tzatziki. It also rendered the scrabble board quite messy and her clothes.. oh! they are best not discussed. So, beware.. this humongous wrap is not so easy to hold and a lot more messy and delicious to eat 🙂

One satisfying meal, this.

One satisfying meal, this.

My entry to Angie’s Friday Fiesta #27. A must see for many more gorgeous mouth watering entries!

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In Season – Fresh Whole Red Chilies for Hummus and a Creamy dip

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”

In Season

In Season

‘Go seasonal’, I can almost hear her saying this. Her words ring every time I’m in a market. My grandmum always bought produce which was in season and available in plenty. She never went looking for stuff that was ‘there when it should not be’.

For one they are grown naturally, not adulterated or processed. Hence they are more nutritious, less expensive and of course simply yummy!

Now, winters being my most favorite season, comes armed with a host of gifts. Fresh colorful fruits and vegetables hound the market. The wares sit gleaming, uninhibited and inviting in all their natural glory. I usually go mental in times like these. Making it a point to try most of the produce finds me visiting the farmers market every other day.

So on that note, I introduce to you fresh red whole chilies or peppers. They are pretty to look and not very hot at all. You can do so much with them! Like make poppers or dips or pickle them or add them in your rice, make hot sauce..

I treated them like red bell peppers, threw some into my fried rice, once simply sautéed in oil and spiced it with turmeric, salt and coriander powder(yummy!), made some roasted pepper hummus and a creamy corn red chili dip.
Wanted to make poppers but found no takers for it, slit red peppers, stuffed with a creamy potato filling, topped with some cheese and baked till golden – sounds ethereal right?! Um.. not to guys back home. Well, I stuck to dips and other usual stuff. We’ll save the poppers for some other time.

Roasted Red chili Hummus

Roasted Red chili Hummus

Creamy Corn Chili Dip

Creamy Corn Chili Dip

ROASTED RED CHILIE/PEPPER HUMMUS

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

To make a cup of hummus:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chickpeas, wash and soak in water overnight
  • Sesame seeds – 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsps
  • Fresh whole red chilies – 2
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic -2, roast in a tsp of olive oil and lightly crush
  • Cayenne pepper – 1/2 tsp – to be used only if the fresh red chilies are very mild.
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Yoghurt/curd – 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste

Method

Pressure cook chick peas along with the water until soft. Drain the chick peas and keep aside. Reserve the water also.
Dry roast sesame seeds on low flame for 2-3 mts and turn off flame.
Place a skewer into each of the red chilie peppers and roast over low flame till the skin is charred or blackened. Peel. Place the peeled roasted peppers in a bowl and keep aside.

Heat a small pan, add 2 tsps olive oil and roast garlic for a mt till light brown. Turn off heat and cool.

In a mixer grinder, add drained chickpeas, roasted red chilies, garlic, sesame seeds, olive oil, yoghurt and grind to a fine paste. Add lemon juice, cumin powder, cayenne pepper or chili powder and salt and grind again till well blended. It should be a smooth and creamy paste.

Remove to a serving bowl. Drizzle some olive oil on top with a sprinkle of red chili flakes and serve with pita bread, crackers or sliced vegetables like carrot or cucumber.

Best with some crackers

Best with some crackers

We snacked on it with some dry crackers and bread. Yummy!

Healthy snacking

Healthy snacking

CREAMY CORN CHILIE DIP

Creamy Corn Chili Dip

Creamy Corn Chili Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 red chilie peppers, minced or chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 pods of garlic, minced – I used fresh green garlic with stems
  • 1 tiny piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, minced – I just threw this in for some color contrast 😉
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp cheese, grated – optional
  • salt to taste
  • red chili flakes – optional

Method

Heat oil, saute garlic, ginger, and onions till they turn translucent. Throw in green bell pepper, corn and red chili peppers. Fry well for a minute. Sprinkle flour. let it coat evenly, quickly add milk and keep stirring till the milk thickens into a creamy sauce covering the veggies. Add seasoning and salt. If using cheese, mix it in now. Give it a final mix. The consistency is that of a semi thick dip, like mayonnaise.

Cool. Serve it with crackers or toasted bread or with some pita. Try it in sandwiches or wraps. Yummy. Certified.

Best with some bread

Best with some bread

So she is highly opinionated, fearless, immensely emotional(read: cry baby), scathingly critical but yet very very lovable. Amassing amma’s prized concoctions and her million dollar tips and tricks has always been on my never ending to-do list.

If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.

~Linda Henley

Pita Bread, Tzatziki and a Vegetarian Gyro Sandwich

Tzatziki in pita bread is divine

khaboos/khubz/khabooz – pita bread

Just when there’s a huge amount of work to be done, tons of cleaning and washing, two back to back classes for the child to attend, maids giving a miss.. it’s just in these times, that I usually cook something fancy. Its like, I already have so much work, a little more would not hurt.

Khabooz/ Pita Bread

Recipe Success

And then there are those times, when I can get so lazzy…. that I don’t clean or cook or run mad for classes and the maids also turn up. In those beautiful moments I *sigh*, I loiter, procrastinate, laze, enjoy a sleepy happy nap in the afternoon sun(Yea.. I love sunny naps.. when my eyes squint and thoughts dreamy and quixotic). I am like that.

Gyro Un wrapped!

Gyro Un wrapped!

So, on yet another busy harried day, I tried my hands at baking pita bread. And when you’re on a roll, you just can’t seem to stop. In effect, a greek yoghurt dip and a Gyro sandwich was churned up. You know how it is when one thing leads to another. Thats what happened to me too.

With pita read, some tzatziki, hummus, tandoori paneer and potatoes, we assembled a vegetarian version of the famous Gyro Sandwich! Yumm!

Pita Crispies served with Hummus

Pita Crispies served with Hummus

Also for dinner that night: Baked crisp pita bread served with oil loaded hummus. Cool eh?

Now getting down to some serious business.

PITA BREAD

Soft and Pillowy

Soft and Pillowy

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • about 1 1/2 cups water
  • Optional: 1 tsp toasted flaxseed and sesame seed for topping

Method

Proof the yeast. Take both flours, salt, honey, oil and proofed yeast in a bowl. Using water, knead into a soft dough. Knead further until the dough is very soft and elastic, but is not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, rolling the dough in the bowl so it is well coated with the oil. Cover and keep aside to rise till double, for about 1 1/2 hours.

Once doubled, punch the dough to release some of the air and divide it into 8-10 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out the ball to about 1/4″ to 1/8” thick (not as thin as a chappathi). If your dough does not roll out well let it rest for about 20 minutes and the roll it out again.

Let the rolled out pitas rest for about 10 minutes, if you are using flaxseed and sesame seed, sprinkle on the bread before baking and then bake them on a baking sheet at 220C (430F) for about 5 to 6 minutes till well puffed up and cooked. If you want crisp pitas you can bake them a little longer, but for making Gyros you need the pitas to be soft.
Place them on a tack or a clean cotton towel to cool so they do not become soggy.

Note: I used exactly half the aforesaid quantity and it was good enough to feed 3 people.

Crisp pita dotted with flax seeds and sesame seeds, served with hummus.

Appetising!

Appetising!

TANDOORI PANEER AND POTATOES

Tandoori Paneer

Tandoori Paneer

Tandoori Potatoes and Paneer

Tandoori Potatoes and Paneer

Ingredients

  • 200 gms paneer, cut into cubes.
  • 2 large potatoes, parboiled and cut into long fingers
  • 1 cup thick curd
  • 2-3 tbsp chick pea flour or besan
  • spices in tsp – turmeric-1/2, coriander powder-1/2, red chili powder- 1, salt, tandoori masala-1, ginger garlic paste-1, amchur powder(dry mango)- 1/2)
  • oil – 1 tsp
  • chopped coriander leaves

Method

Mix together curd, chick pea flour, spices and coriander leaves. Marinate the paneer and potato in this spicy tandoori marinade. Leave for at least 30 minutes. I kept mine for 2 hours.
Once done, preheat an oven or a flat griddle, and bake these beauties on parchment lines paper till golden brown. Take care not to over bake or cook else the paneer will turn rubbery. Serve as required.

TZATZIKI

Greek Yoghurt made with cucumber

Greek Yoghurt made with cucumber

Ingredients

  • (1/2-3/4) cup chopped deseeded cucumbers
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup thick curd
  • 1 tsp of lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped dill leaves-optional
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Mix together all the ingredients except the cucumber till blended well. Sprinkle some salt on the finely chopped cucumber and keep aside for about 20 minutes. Squeeze out the water from the cucumber to dry it out as much as possible. Fold in the drained cucumber, garnish with more mint and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Note: Please don’t skip the honey, it adds much taste to this dip.

GYRO SANDWICH

Popular American Greek Street Food

Popular American Greek Street Food

A Gyro is a popular American-Greek street food, thought to have its origins in the Turkish Doner Kebab or Shawarmas.the name Gyro comes from the spiced meat for the sandwich, which is cooked on a revolving vertical spit from which thin strips are sliced off. Pronounced as “Yeer-Oh”, what I have here is a veggie version of it. You could even think of this as a paneer shawarma.

Method

Take one pita bread, on one half of it, the drama enfolds: Spread a tablespoon of hummus, some fresh Julienne veggies like cabbage, capsicum, onions and tomatoes. Place your tandoori paneer and potatoes. Top with Tzatziki – add as much as please. Fold the other half bread over it.

Serve!

I know the post is long, bear with me. I have been terribly busy lately. So, to publish 3-4 different posts seemed much harder than making a single one. I have a whole line of recipes coming soon(cooking a lot lately), so clubbing two-three smaller ones seems like the correct thing to do. Do drop a line if you think otherwise.

So easy to make

So easy to make

Take a bite

Take a bite

This recipe is my entry to Vardhini’s Bake Fest #25.

Hummus

Chickpeas dip/Hummus

Chickpeas dip/Hummus

Humus, Hummus, Homous, Hummous.. variations aplenty, this wonderful nutty chickpea dip is worth making every week. Hummus is a middle eastern/Arabic dip made from cooked chickpeas. Chickpeas/Kabuli channa is protein rich, extremely nutritious not to forget, tasty! Being high in iron and vitamin C, this blend can be used in many ways. As a dip with crisp pita or lavash, as a spread on sandwiches, as a pizza sauce or in wraps. This versatility gives you more options and ways to make it a part of your diet.

Pita Crispies with Hummus

Pita Crispies with Hummus

Pita bread baked to crisp perfection.

Pita bread baked to crisp perfection.

To make 1 cup Hummus:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup kabuli channa/Chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled with a little salt. Or u can buy the canned variety.
  • 2 tsp Tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt/curds
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2-3 garlic pods
  • 2-4 tbsp Olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • chili flakes or paprika to garnish
  • 1/2 tsp fresh parsley or dried
  • 7-8 green/black olives for garnishing.

Tahini is this wonderful amalgam of roasted nutty sesame seeds and olive oil. It is a major component in middle eastern dishes and of course in Hummus. Made by blending roasted sesame seeds and Olive oil. You can even use the store-bought variety.
When dinner is a full-blown middle eastern meal where lots of Tahini is needed – is when I make it at home. But if only hummus is on the menu, then I skip the tahini (sounds weird?) and it still tastes awesome.

I skip tahini because: it’s not stocked in my refrigerator(I don’t buy the store version) and to make 1 tbsp of tahini in my tiniest blender jar is next to impossible. Thats why.

Method

Keep the excess water of boiled chickpeas aside. In a blender, throw in the chickpeas, tahini, salt, 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and curds. blend into a smooth paste. If too thick/viscous, then add little of the boiled chick pea water. The consistency is semi thick, not runny at all, neither too thick.

Remove in a bowl, mix in the parsley and little bit of chili flakes. Garnish with more olive oil, chili flakes and sliced olives.

Wonderfully creamy, nutty and extremely nutritious, I use it as a spread for Milee’s sandwiches or in wraps along with veggies and mozzarella.

Mildly flavored with garlic and infused with a lot of Olive oil!.. So yummmm.

Mildly flavored with garlic and infused with a lot of Olive oil!.. So yummmm.

Time To dive in!

Time To dive in!