Monday, November 5, 2012

Yoav's Falafel

Our only night in Jerusalem during eid we decided to have the famous Jerusalem falafel. To our pleasant surprise our couchsurfing host and her friends were making a batch of falafel that evening so we were invited for a home-cooked meal. The home-made falafel, served with tahini and warm pita bread, was the best I had ever tasted. To drink we had home-brewed cinnamon and hibiscus tea. I couldn't leave without getting the recipe, and I will now share it with you. Here is Yoav's Amazing Falafel Balls:

Yoav’s Falafel Balls

1 kg soaked (overnight) dried chickpeas
4 tbsp chopped parsley
3 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tsp hot paprika
6 garlic cloves
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp cumin
½ tbsp cinnamon
½ tbsp nutmeg
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt

1. Mix all ingredients, except for the spices, in a food processor.
2. Add the spices and continue mixing.
3. Let the mixture sit for at least two hours in the fridge (can sit also overnight).
4. Use a teaspoon to form the balls with wet hands.
5. After you form the balls, fry them in oil.

Here is a recipe for pita bread that I found on

Pita Bread

ita bread is served at just about every meal in the Middle East. It can be used for dipping, or to make delicious sandwiches in the pocket. In the Middle East, pita is made in brick ovens, where very high heat can be achieved. It is very hard to duplicate in a home kitchen, but this recipe, combined with high heat, comes very close.


1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.

Combine flour and salt in large bowl.

Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.

Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.

Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.

Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to also preheat your baking sheet.

Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.

Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.

Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.

And for Tahini, from the same website:


Tahini sauce is made from tahini - a sesame seed paste. Tahini sauce is thinner and used in pita sandwiches, marinades, and dips. Tahini sauce is very easy to make. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it will keep for about two weeks.

1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 gloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped (optional)

In a food processor or mortar and pestle, combine garlic and tahini. Add kosher salt.

Remove from food processor and add olive oil and lemon juice. If too thick, add a teaspoon of warm water until desired consistency. (Add parsley)

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