Makes about 30 spoon-sized falafels
The Restaurant Phoenix Project Dinner on Alamo Farm was a meatfest. We had Johnny Kirk’s 264-pound hog, Brent McAfee’s sausages, bacon and “dacon” or duck bacon. Feeling for my vegetarian leaning compatriots, I decided to slap these things together. I was asked more than once for the recipe as I wandered the crowd of happy diners. Vegetarians, here’s your bone.
- 1 pound bag green lentils (no need to buy the expensive French green lentils de Puy. Get the cheap ones they sell at Kroger.) Cook in simmering water until still slightly underdone. Drain well under cold water and allow to dry for a few minutes.
- 8 ounces red lentils, fully cooked, drained well (takes about 20 minutes to cook)
- 1/2 small zucchini, grated on a box grater
- 2 cloves garlic, grated on a box grater
- ½ yellow onion, grated on a box grater
- ½ bunch cilantro, stems included, washed and minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup non-glutenous rice flour (more if the batter sits around and gets wet)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Large mixing bowl
- Box grater (use the side with the largest, oval eyes)
- Food processor (Cuisinart, Kitchen-Aid, etc.)
- Commercial fryer or table-top rig (large, heavy-bottomed pot)
- Spider (in restaurant cooking parlance, any large flat scooped strainer with a long handle used for removing food out of boiling water or frying fat)
- Large soup spoon or 2 ounce ice cream/sorbet disher
- ½ sized sheet tray fitted with a wire cooling rack
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Taste mix and adjust seasoning to your preference with salt and spices. If the batter is loose and watery, add enough rice flour to get it stiffer. It shouldn’t be tight like pasta dough. It’s should be soft. Allow the mix to chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
Using the soup spoon or 2 ounce disher, scoop the falafels from the mixture and lower directly into the fryer. There is no need to form the falafels like I have into little patties. I actually like the misshapen look better.
Fry at 350 F until crispy and golden brown (about 3 minutes). Using the spider, remove the falafels to the cooling rack and season with salt. See The Caritas Cookbook: A Year in the Life with Recipes for deep-frying tips.