Recipe #7: Falafel Pitas

We love pitas, and wanted to try to recreate the delicious Falafel pita we usually get at Extreme Pita downtown. We've made falafels a number of times now at home, and have used two different methods. The first method is a very simple one: Buy a package of "Falafel Mix Prepatation" at a convenience store (Malcolm bought ours at Al-Arz Lebanese and Middle Eastern Food Store, though I think it can be found in the International Section at Superstore and Sobeys as well). We also usually buy our pita bread at Al-Arz Food. The directions on the box are very straight forward: Mix the Falafel 'preparation' with water and let sit for one hour; form little falafel balls; fry in oil; eat. We've only tried this method once, and the falafels were quite delicious. That being said, there's nothing more satisfying than making your food from (almost) scratch. So, we've made the amost-from-scratch Falafels more often instead.

Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (approx.)


- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- Pepper, to taste (if desired)
- Oil (for frying)

1. Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, and pepper in medium bowl. Mash chickpeas so that ingredients mix together.
2. Add flour and continue mashing. If you have a food processor, I would suggest to use it - we don't have one and mix and mash it all by hand, but the Falafel balls usually don't stick together as well when we form them because the ingredients aren't miniscule. Ideally, you will end up with a thick paste of chickpea mush.
3. Form the mixture into small balls, and slightly flatten them.
4. Fry the Falafel balls in approx. 2 inches of oil until golden brown (5-7 minutes each, turning once one side is brown).

Almost-From-Scratch-Falafels (left) and Prepared-Mix-Falafels (right). Both are worth a try.

We've only made Falafel pitas, though the Falafel balls themselves can be served as a main course, as an appetizer (usually with hummus and tahini), or they can even be made into burger patties (if formed differently) for Falafel burgers. Maybe that's what we'll try next.

Once you're ready to make the actual pitas, this is what we suggest to include in the pita:
- Falafel balls (2-3 per pita)
- Hummus
- Tahina/Tahini (sesame seed paste).
- Tomatoes, finely chopped
- Cucumbers, finely chopped,
- Onions, finely chopped (though there are already onions in the Falafels already)
- Lettuce, finely chopped

I also usually add tzatziki, though the guy at Extreme Pita has told me that it doesn't "fit" with the Falafel pita. I believe he denied me tzatziki once, even though I had asked for it! Unfortunately I didn't get any pics of the made-up pitas, but I'm sure you can picture it.

Now, obviously this isn't the most healthy meal possible due to the frying in the oil, but of course the ingredients are very healthy, so I like to think that it evens out a little bit. =)

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