Or, another of Ottolenghi’s salads! (although I diverged from the recipe in his book). Continue reading “Radish and beans salad”
- 1 onion peeled
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled
- 500g soaked chickpeas (from 250 dried)
- 6 sprigs of parsley, picked
- a bunch of coriander (leaves and top part of stem)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp gram flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Soak chickpeas overnight or 8+ hours with plenty of water (they might double in weight)
- Roughly chop the onion, garlic, and herbs on a food processor
- Add chickpeas and chop them too
- Tip the mix to a large bowl
- Mix in the spices, sesame seeds, salt, flour and baking powder. Combine all well together.
- Add oil to a pan and bring to a high heat
- Now, you can use damp hands to shape bits of the mix into balls or patties, or you can use two wooden spoons which is what I did, using one to scoop the mix out and the other one to flatten it a bit before placing it on the pan. Once it’s in the pan and it has settled a bit, I delicately flatten it further using the spoon.
- After a while, you will want to delicately turn them around, once they’re browned on one side. Be careful not to do it too early or they might crumb and break!
- When they are browned on both sides, take them out of the pan.
- You might want to add a bit more oil for the next batch.
- Repeat until you’re done with all the mix!
I had a really disappointing experience with some supermarket-bought falafel recently. It was dry and crumbly, had no taste or kick whatsoever, and all in all, it was utterly dissatisfying. I should have known better, I know. I guess I was just very hopeful that day 😜
“Of course”, I thought, “it can’t be that hard to make falafel myself, as chickpeas are basically foolproof”.
So I searched for a falafel recipe. I found lots from US based writers which used ingredient names I’m not familiar with and I was quite suspicious of, and I was starting to feel a bit disappointed, until I had an illumination, and searched for “falafel honey and co”.
And my wish for a trustworthy looking recipe was fulfilled: Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer —or essentially, the “heads” of Honey & Co— went to Women’s Hour in BBC Radio 4, and shared their falafel recipe there.
BUT I do not have a fryer, and I didn’t want to use a lot of oil to fry the falafels. So I ended up flattening them; I figured that would increase the surface that was exposed to the heat. Which turned them into flat falafels. Or like chickpea fritters. Or patties. Or… any combination of the above. You can’t say cooking isn’t creative…
The end result isn’t the prettiest, but the taste was really good, and that’s even if I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter: I forgot to add a green chilli, and I doubled the amount of other ingredients so I could have a larger batch… except for baking powder and spices, which I wasn’t quite confident about (specially baking powder-it’s got a great ability to ruin things if you add too much of it). Also, their recipe doesn’t mention sesame seeds in the list of ingredients, but then it does when it asks you to add sesame seeds to the mix. And you’re left wondering: “WHICH sesame seeds?!”
The fantastic garlic kick reminded me a bit to the cod croquettes which my grandma used to make (except you can’t find fishbones, yay!). It even made me think that maybe it could also work if adding pine nuts, like in my grandma’s recipe. After all, there are very few things in the world that will not be improved by adding pine nuts to them.
They combined well with salad, as they can be a bit dry on their own.
Maybe a yoghurt and cucumber sauce could work too, but we didn’t have any on the fridge. Instead, I tried making a very purist allioli, with just garlic and olive oil, but it didn’t work, mostly because I was using a blender instead of a pestle and mortar. Something to experiment with some other day. That said, the garlic and oil sauce was great anyway—and we felt very confident that no vampire would get close to our household, haha!
Honey & co don’t recommend reheating, but I did warm them slightly on the microwave the next day before placing them on top of my salad and they were still very nice.
A final warning: this dish is a bit laborious; chopping the ingredients can be tiring if your blender decides to get temperamental (as mine did), and you might need to do it in small batches so it takes longer than it should. I’d personally advise making this on a day where you can take your time and not fall asleep over the bowl. Or getting a mega food processor and blitzing through the chickpeas in two nanoseconds (so to speak!) 🙂
I was feeling really lazy today so I decided to use a can of chickpeas instead of cooking lentils to prepare tomorrow’s lunch box. I feel that chickpeas go really well with cumin seeds.
I’d say 15 minutes. This is super easy to toss together as the ingredients don’t need much preparation; it’s just a matter of washing and slicing.
- Chickpeas (obviously); you can make about 2 salads with one 400 g tin
- Salad leaves – any type you like, although I prefer a crunchy sweet romaine for this
- Sweet red pepper (raw)
- Feta cheese
- Cumin seeds ~about half a teaspoon
- Pine nuts
- The best olive oil you can find
of course, feel free to add or remove whatever you like or dislike… this is a salad, not a cake! For example, remove the feta cheese if you want to make this vegan.
- Wash and shake the water off the ingredients
- Slice lettuce in manageable sizes but don’t go too thin or it becomes too bland
- Slice the tomatoes in half (if they’re cherry), or a bite sized portion if they’re bigger
- Slice cucumber, red pepper…
- Add olives and feta to taste
- If you have mortar and pestle, you could smash the cumin seeds a bit as that opens up the flavour, otherwise I often don’t even bother and just add them as they are. Be careful to not to add too many or you’ll end up annoyed by their “crunchiness”
- Sprinkle with pine nuts if that’s your thing
- Generously add olive oil
- And add salt and pepper to taste
- Mix everything nicely!
Note: If you’re preparing this for the next day, don’t add the oil yet, or it will make everything mushy. Wait until when you’re actually going to eat the salad to then add the olive oil.
This also goes nicely with some sliced parsley, if you have it handy.
Also, if your partner is on a business trip (like mine) and you really want some kick in your taste buds, you could [sort of finely] slice a garlic clove and mix it with the salad at the time you add the olive oil. You might need to add a touch more salt to make the garlic really stand out.
It really makes the whole experience quite… intense. I really like the combination of cumin seeds, olive oil and chickpeas with the garlic.
I only do this when I’m home alone, and I’d never bring a garlic salad to the office out of respect for my coworkers. Who knows, someone might be a vampire and my post-salad breath would knock them out! 😂
Who wants to ingest garlic pills to boost your immunity when you can just eat a garlic clove? 🔥😜🔥