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Falafel and Tabouleh Salad

Yemeni Style Falafel

Husband and wife team Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer of Honey & Co take their inspiration from a wealth of Middle Eastern dishes. Itamar is a quarter Yemeni on his grandfather's side and this falafel recipe is a tribute to that heritage, and it is great- the traditional Yemeni combo of coriander, cardamom and garlic makes it super-vibrant in colour and flavour.

Ingredients:

*1/2 onion, peeled (about 60g)

*1 clove of garlic, peeled

*250g soaked chickpeas (from 125g dried)

*1 green chilli, seeds and all

*3 sprigs of parsley, picked

*1 small bunch of coriander (about 15-20g), leaves and top part of stems only

*1/2 tsp ground cumin

*1 tsp freshly ground cardamom pods

*1/2 tsp salt

*2 tbsp gram flour (use plain if need be)

*1 tsp baking powder

Method:

1. Start the night before: Wash the chickpeas then soak at room temperature in a large bowl with lots of water (at least four times the volume of the chickpeas) for at least 8 hours. Falafel will never work with tinned chickpeas.

2. The chickpeas should double in weight. Lift them out of the water and place in a bowl, remove any stones or ones that have gone black.

3. Put the onion, garlic, chilli and herbs in a food processor and pulse them to chop roughly.

4. Add the chickpeas and blitz until mixture becomes a thick paste with small, even-sized bits and a rough bread crumb consistency. The best way to check the mixture is done is to scoop up a small amount and squeeze it in your palm - it should hold its shape. If it falls apart, return to processer for another spin.

5. Tip mixture into a large bowl, add the spices, salt, flour, baking powder and sesame seeds. Mix until all is combined well.

6. Heat a deep pan with enough oil to cover the falafels. You can test if the oil is hot enough by placing a small piece of mix in the oil- as soon as it starts to bubble, it's ready.

7. Shape the falafel mix with damp hands into little balls or torpedo shapes about the size of a walnut. Or you can shape them using one spoon to scoop up the mixture and a second to shape it and carefully drop into the hot oil.

8. Cook them through until the exterior is browned and crisp ( about 2-3 minutes). Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and repeat the process until all the of them are fried.

9.Serve right away while they are crunchy and hot with tahini sauce. Falafels do not stand being reheated well.

Tahini Sauce:

The best Tahini paste is Lebanese, Palestinian or Turkish.

Add a clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, juice of 1 lemon and 120ml water to 125 g of tahini paste. Blend until creamy and adjust seasoning to taste.

Tips:

Use a neutral vegetable oil that doesn't have much flavour, like sunflower or rapeseed.

Falafel always contains chickpeas and onions, cumin and baking powder. But other than that anything goes. There are many variations in the spices you can use such as ground coriander, ground cinnamon, a pinch of white pepper (not black), sesame seeds or a clove of garlic.

Lebanese Tabouleh Salad

This is a delicious herby Lebanese salad and it's best made when tomatoes are in high season, sweet and full of flavour. Use coarse grind bulgar cracked wheat for this, as the soft tomatoes need the added crunch. Bulgar wheat has more texture and flavour than couscous and is just as easy to prepare for this dish.

Serves 4-6 as a mezze

Method:

Prepare the basic bulgar wheat

*75g of bulgar cracked wheat

*75ml boiling water (90ml for coarse grind)

*pinch of salt and splash of olive oil

If you're using a mug to measure, use the same amount of bulgar wheat as water.

1. Place the bulgar wheat, oil and salt in a bowl and stir well till the grains are all covered in the oil.

2. Pour over just-boiled water and quickly cover with clingfilm to seal in the steam. Leave for five minutes and then use a fork to fluff the bulgar wheat up and break it up.

3. Allow to cool uncovered and then it's ready for use. It will keep for three days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Ingredients

*l00g cooked coarse grind bulgar wheat (see method above)

*l00g fresh pomegranate seeds

*l00g tomatoes, cut into small dice

*1 large bunch of parsley (about 30-40g), picked and chopped

*3 sprigs of mint, picked and chopped

*1 green chilli,deseeded and chopped

*2 inner stalks of celery,finely sliced

*zest and juice of 1 lemon

*1 tbsp olive oil

*1/2 tsp sea salt

Method:

1. Mix everything together in a bowl and adjust the seasoning to taste.

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