Sunday, 15 July 2012

home-made falafel and pita breads

So Sue had been craving some falafel all week and we are looking to eat more healthily so we went and bought a deep fat fryer yesterday. What?? So this blog is full of contradictions. Anyway, after searching many books and internet sites she settled on a simple recipe from Vegetarian with a Vengeance which used soaked uncooked chickpeas ground together with coriander leaf, onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, ground cumin and coriander, salt, flour and baking powder. For more ideas see Joanna's excellent post here.

Meanwhile I got on with making pita breads. I have been meaning to have a go at these for a while now, indeed since I read Misky's post back in February. Better late than never. I used Hadjiandreou's method which makes 6 mini pitas (the dough weighs 50g each) Hadjiandreou uses plain white flour and his usually short kneed and rest method. Use whatever method you find comfortable to get to the stage where your plain white dough has "doubled" in size. I divided my dough into 6 balls. Let them rest 10 minutes and then floured them and rolled them out.

The preheated oven was on max with my heavy baking tray on the middle shelf. I place three pitas on to the tray and waited. The book did not give a time, just asked you to be vigilant and wait for them to puff up. I was not confident they would. The recipe was so simple but...

Then they puffed up! They had 5-6 minutes and then I placed them on a rack to cool.

Sue made the falafel mix. We very carefully fried them (I don't think I have ever deep fried anything before - bad memories of a chip pan fire when I was a child where thankfully no-one was hurt).

They came out beautifully. I filled my pita with falafel and some tahini-yoghurt dressing and a crisp green salad with radish and tomatoes. Not a traditional Sunday lunch but one I will remember.

The pita were light and delicious - nothing like the cardboard shop-bought ones and I shall be making more of these during the summer months.

A nice Sunday. I also completed a Mellow Bakers challenge (see next post) and got out out for a jog this morning. I have run 80 miles in the past 4 weeks. That is nothing special but when I look through the lens of having been unable to run at all 3 months ago with a knee injury, then its a real blessing.


  1. Yummy and lovely elegant pita too! I always make Dan's perfect pita recipe which uses a mix of plain and strong flour, I think it's in S&S but was originally in the Guardian Guide to Baking from 2008. Glad you had falafel success, thanks for the link too, I haven't made them since then as we had so many we froze loads. They do get a bit dry on defrosting and reheating, so prob better made fresh. And glad your knee is better too, take care dear Ray!

  2. Thanks Joanna. Dan's recipe is still available on line. I have not really had a look at the S&S - Sue likes it for the cakes, I'm drawn more to the slow fermentation sourdoughs! My colleague did the same as you and froze a load of falafel he made one weekend - his kids loved them in packed lunches. We will have a go at varying the herbs/spices. I also want to try using the split fava beans in my local middle eastern store. They do taste best fresh though.

    The pita bread recipe looked so basic that I was surprised at just how tasty they were. I will try the Lepard recipe too. really enjoying baking from his handmade loaf book.

  3. Those look splendid! Well done, and many thanks for the linkback and mention. Very much appreciated. By the way, have you frozen any of them? They freeze well and defrost very quickly for use when you want one.

  4. No, just made those six and er.. ate them rather quickly. I note that Dan Lepard says they are worth freezing and still nicer than shop bought :) Only have a small ice box in our fridge. But they are so easy to make that I would be tempted to make a small batch when the oven is on for something else. We shall see...