Spicy Red Lentil Falafel

 
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I used to make all sorts of falafel or bean balls so often I think I got a bit tired of them. I mean cooking-wise - I would never turn down a good falafel, obviously. Taking a break of anything you do very often usually does good, and I think that's exactly what happened here because these right here turned out amazing! These red lentil based falafel get a spicy kick from one of my favorite seasonings: harissa.

Try serving the red lentil falafel with...

    •    more harissa
    •    hummus, tahini dressing or simply plain tahini
    •    yogurt dressing (season natural yogurt with e.g. mustard, lemon juice, fresh mint, salt & pepper)
    •    pita bread
    •    some roasted root veggies as seen in the picture (simple instructions further below)

I wrapped some falafel & roasted roots in a tortilla with tahini, harissa and yogurt dressing for a movie snack. It was pretty great.

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Red Lentil Falafel

(~10 medium size falafel)

    •    1,5dl red lentils
    •    extra: cook the lentils with 1-2 star anise and 2 cloves
    •    1dl sunflower seeds
    •    1dl sun dried tomatoes
    •    ~1,5dl gram flour (chickpea flour)*
    •    1 clove of garlic
    •    2tbsp tahini
    •    1-2tbsp harissa paste
    •    a handful of fresh parsley
    •    a handful of fresh mint
    •    1tsp jeera powder
    •    0,5tbsp oil + more for frying
    •    salt (to taste)

* Can't find gram flour? Don't worry - you can use breadcrumbs or pretty much any other flour, but note that gram flour gives the best consistency.

Cook the lentils as instructed in the package, and for some extra flavour try adding 1-2 star anise and some cloves into the cooking water. I added a pinch of salt, too. Drain the lentils as well as possible after cooked, and let them cool off.

Combine all the ingredients except for the flour, and use a food processor, blender, or a hand blender to form a thick paste. I used a hand blender specifically to get a bit of a chunky texture. If you are using a powerful food processor, you can probably start adding the flour right in there, otherwise I would advise to move your paste into a bowl first. Start adding the flour little by little and make sure to mix well. When you have a thick enough consistency to mold small patties that barely don't fall apart when you lift it with your fingers, it's done. Mold your falafel dough into ~10 small patties (roll into a ball and flatten a little) and place on a plate to wait for frying.

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Between medium and full power, heat up a 1-2mm layer of cooking oil on a frying pan. And I mean: a layer of oil. When the oil is hot, add the falafel and fry on both sides until you have nice crispy surface. Done!

Note: I think the falafel in a lot of places is so good because it's deep fried, but I am suspicious of doing that myself mostly because I am super clumsy. (For real. I accidentally set a small fire in a gas grill just a couple of weeks ago - it was handled fast enough, though.) Frying in a thick layer of oil takes you closer to the same result, and is much easier to handle.

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And how do you get those gorgeous-looking crispy roasted veggies, you ask?

Roasted Roots

    •    ~8 medium-small potatoes
    •    3 carrots
    •    1,5tbsp oil
    •    1tbsp syrup
    •    1,5tbsp balsamic vinegar
    •    1tbsp cumin seeds
    •    salt & pepper to taste
    •    fresh parsley

Wash the potatoes and carrots thoroughly. Cut into equal size bits. In large bowl, mix the oil, syrup, balsamic vinegar, cumin seeds, salt, and pepper. Add the carrots and potatoes, and mix well - use your hands to really rub the marinade on the veggies. Spread on an oven tray and bake in 200°C for about 40 minutes, and mix a couple of time while cooking. Serve with fresh parsley.

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