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Bite Size Falafel with Tzatziki for Dipping

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It’s debatable as to whether falafel is healthy or not. On the one hand, it’s a virtuous mixture of chick peas and parsley with a few seasonings added. On the other hand, it’s deep fried.

Either way, I love it.  All the fresh herbs in it leaves me feeling clean and energized from the inside out.

Most of the time, you find falafel served on flat bread like a sandwich. Though I do enjoy it like that, my favorite part of the sandwich is the falafel itself, the tomatoes, and the tzatziki. I figured, why add all the rest of the stuff, when I can just eat the parts I like?  

This is a fun food for kids because  it means they can get the skewers or the toothpicks out and dip them in the tzatziki. It also makes a fun appetizer for a casual party.

falafel

vegetable oil for frying
2 14 ounce cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 jalapeño pepper, diced
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
juice of 1 lemon
tzatziki (recipe follows) for dipping
Chopped tomato for garnish

1. Pour enough oil into a sturdy high sided saucepan to reach 2 inches deep. Set over medium high heat.

2. While the oil comes to the right temperature, toss all remaining ingredients (minus the tzatziki and tomatoes) into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until mixture forms a smooth paste.

3. When the oil comes to 375 degrees (you may need to raise the heat a bit), use a small cookie scoop (1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon size) to gently scoop out mixture. Release the mixture into the hot oil, and repeat with about 3 more (only 3 or 4 falafel should be in the oil at a time, or the temperature of the oil will drop too low). When the falafel are medium to dark brown, remove them to a stack of paper towels to cool. Repeat with remaining chick pea mixture.

4. Serve with tzatziki garnished with tomatoes.

tzatziki

1 8 ounce container of Greek yogurt
1/2 English cucumber, grated on a box grater
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about 1/2 a clove)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
juice of one lemon

1. Place yogurt in a sieve, lined with two heavy-duty white paper towels (like Kirkland brand, or Bounty), set over a bowl. Let it drain over night in the fridge, or for at least 4 hours.

2. When the yogurt has fully drained, take the grated cucumber and wrap in two new paper towels. Squeeze out any excess water over the sink.

3. In a small bowl, combine cucumber, yogurt, and all remaining ingredients.  Keep refrigerated.

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