Food-Filled Fridays: Wrapping it Up (Israel)


One of my favorite wraps of all time is best found near the New Gate in Jerusalem.  For only 5-7 shekels, this hearty lunch will have you returning again and again.

I know, I know.  Not all my readers have the privilege of going to the Old City and some of you are dying to taste this anyway.  After I returned from Israel in 2008, I found it necessary to duplicate this tasty food for my own family.

Jerusalem-Style Falafel

1 c. dry chickpeas (I used a 15 oz. can of chickpeas that I had drained)
1 sm. onion
5 cloves garlic
½ c. fresh cilantro
½ c. fresh parsley
1 tsp. baking powder
6 tbsp. flour (At this point, I was not cooking gluten-free, but you could substitute gluten-free flour here)
Spices: salt, cumin, coriander, hot pepper to taste
oil for frying

If you’re using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight.  If you’re using the canned chickpeas, just drain them and move on to the next portion of the recipe.

Finely chop onions, garlic, cilantro, and parsley.  Add chickpeas and chop in a food processor until most of the peas are broken down.  Mix in 1 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. coriander.  Add hot pepper to taste.  Mix in flour and baking powder.  Roll into small, inch-diameter balls and set in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.  Fry in oil until golden brown.

Makes: 20 falafel balls.

The best way to eat falafel is in a pita, topped with tomatoes, hummus, and french fries.

To make your own pita:

3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt

Karen Olewiler and I enjoying falafel in Bethlehem in spring 2008

2 tsp. dry yeast
2 tbsp. oil
1 1/4 c. water at room temperature
flour for dusting

Mix dough about 8 hours before wanting to bake.  Mix and put into fridge.  You can leave this dough for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

(For hand mixing, place ingredients in a bowl and combine using hands or wooden spoon.  Knead ‘til all the ingredients come together in a dough.  Sprinkle flour on work surface.  Knead dough for 5 minutes.  Dump dough on dusted surface and leave covered for 20 minutes.  Knead for 5-10 minutes more.  Let it rise for another 10 minutes.  

Smooth a little oil over dough and clean bowl.  Cover and refrigerate.  
For machine mixing, use dough hook.

When ready to bake, cut dough into 10 pieces.  As you work with each portion, cover the rest of the dough with a moist cloth.  Dust hands with flour.  Roll portion in a ball then flatten into a disc.  Cover discs with oiled plastic film and leave for 20 minutes.  Roll into disc ½ cm. thick.  Leave uncovered for 10 minutes.

Bake 3-5 minutes at 220° C (425°F)
OR
Cook on slightly oiled griddle for 20-30 seconds. (If you choose this method, there is no need to let the discs rise the final 10 minutes.)

Enjoy these same pitas with your falafel, to use for a gyro, or even for a wonderful, Middle-Eastern breakfast topped with Nutella or filled with tomatoes, fish, and hummus!

For a Middle-Eastern snack, enjoy a sesame bagel with some za’atar!  Oi Vey!

What kind of wrap is your favorite?

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