Lebanese Feast!

I had a craving for some Lebanese food today....mmmm...falafel, garlic dip, hummous, pita bread! Sounded so good to me. I had never made the falafel or garlic dip (Toum) before....the falafel turned out great, the Toum, not so great....I know what I did wrong, so it will be MUCH less watery next time...the flavor was great (GARLIC!! AND LOTS OF IT..my mouth was burning at one point!) but the texture needs some improvement. Next time!

Falafel (Chickpea Fritters)
Recipe courtesy of Cooks Illustrated, Oct. 2007

The chickpeas in this recipe must be soaked overnight; you can not substitute canned beans or quick-soaked chickpeas because their texture will result in soggy falafel. A wire spider comes in handy here when cooking the falafel. Serve the falafel in lavash or pita bread with lettuce, pickled vegetables, and chopped tomatoes or cucumbers, or as an hors d’oeuvres with the tahini sauce as a dip.

This recipe was published in our cookbook The Best International Recipe.


6 ounces dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
5 scallions, coarse chopped
1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
vegetable oil for frying


  1. For the falafel: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Drain the chickpeas, discarding the soaking liquid. Process all of the ingredients except for the oil in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the bowl as needed. Form the mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized disks, about 1/2 inch thick and 1 inch wide, and arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (The falafel can be refrigerated at this point for up to 2 hours.)

  2. Heat the oil in a 5-quart large Dutch over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. (Use an instant-read thermometer that registers high temperatures or clip a candy/deep-fat thermometer onto the side of the pan.) Fry half of the falafel, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 375 degrees, until deep brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet using a slotted spoon or wire spider and keep warm in the oven. Return the oil to 375 degrees and repeat with the remaining falafel. Serve immediately with the sauce.

- Lebanese Garlic Dip
Recipe courtesy of Virundhu


4 cloves garlic, smashed and then peeled
1/4 cup oil, (more or less). I used Olive Oil.
salt, as per taste
1 lemon, juiced


This recipe does not come with correct measurements. Cooks from the Indian sub-continent are quite familiar with these words. Most of our recipes does not have exact measurements. It’s not like baking a cake. Each cook has his/her own way with the spices. Remember that when gathering ingredients for this recipe. Be a bit more generous. But, dont be suprised if you don’t get to use up all ingredients.

Traditionally, a mortor and wooden pestle were used to make Toum. Read the wikibook recipe. But modern cooks use a Blender. You need a blender and not a food-processor.

First, blend garlic and salt to a nice paste.

Add olive oil in small amounts and blend for a few seconds. for every two time you add the olive oil, add half a teaspoon full of lemon juice and blend away. Mind you, the blender should run only for a few seconds each time.

As you keep alternating between the olive oil and lemon juice, a nice white cloud would start to form. Keep building on it to reach the amount you need.

Taste and add salt if you want.


Joelen said...

All this looks so delicious!! yum!

Jane DG said...

Do you think it would be okay to bake the falafel instead of frying? Thanks!!

Shawna said...

I think it would be ok! I'd bake it at around 400 or so, keep an eye on it, flip half way through do both sides get crisp. :)


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