Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Falafel Sandwich-Pita bread,Falafel,French fries,Grilled Eggplant & Tahini sauce

I was quite busy with my exams and was out of town for few days.Pardon me for my inconsistent blogging.I was literally away from cooking for a long time :(.So yesterday I was in the kitchen for considerably longer time.
It was in my mind since I visited Kuwait that someday I must try Falafel sandwich.My Dad boasts about this sandwich everyday when I was at Kuwait.But I couldn't taste it and it was in my heart as a deepest regret.Even this time when he visited India, he made me jealous.He said to me that his everyday lunch is a Falafel sandwich.
This vegeterian sandwich is so popular in middle eastern countries.A perfect wholesome sandwich which I guess would be a favourite of all.I made this yesterday and invited few of my friends and cousins to try it.They asked me to make it again..That itself is a great success to this sandwich.I won't  advise to make this for a few becoz it involves lot of effort and time(I spent half a day making this)..But if you wanted to invite many of your friends for this falafel party then you can definitely give this a shot.I made around 7 sandwiches which were vanished in less than no time.
First let me tell you about this sandwich.A middle eastern bread called 'Pita' is used to make this sandwich.Pita bread is locally called as 'Khubz' in arabian countries.This puffed bread is similar to Indian Naan but it is in circular shape and has pocket(puffed).Traditionally,the pocket is slit open and stuffed with falafel(A patty made of chickpeas),french fries,pickle,lettuce,tomato wedges,cucumber cubes,grilled eggplant rounds and tahini sauce (A middle eastern sauce made with tahini(sesame paste) and lemon juice).
I will explain each of them one by one.

Pita Bread(Khubz):

You will need:
2 1/2 cups of flour(Maida/all purpose) + 1/4 cup for kneading/dusting
2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
A pinch of sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Take the warm water in a cup.Make sure that the water is not too hot.Add the yeast and sugar.Stir and cover and keep in a warm place for 10 mins.The yeast mixture gets frothy.

In a large mixing bowl,take the flour and add salt.Mix well.

Make a small well in the center add oil.Rub the flour with the oil.Add the yeast mixture.Mix until all the ingredients are nicely incorporated.Add more flour if sticky.Divide them into 7 equal portions.

Keep them in a plate and cover with the wide mouthed bowl.Keep this in a warm place for 1 hour.I preheated my oven and turn it off.Kept the dough inside the oven .It became double in size.

After an hour,punch down each portion.Dust in the flour and make as a ball.Using a rolling pin spread as a circle of even thickness.Bake in a 250 C preheated oven until it puffs up and you see brown spots.Keep other portion of dough covered while rolling/baking pita.

Baked one..

As many do not have an oven,they have an alternate way.Heat the tawa ,place the rolled dough on it.When you see white spots on side flip on the other side.Wait for the white spots on other side too.Now place the pita on direct flame ,you can see it puffing beautifully.Transfer on a cloth lined basket.The procedure is same as you do for Phulka.No need to apply oil/butter for pita.

Note:Pita pocket will be frim when it is baked.And you do not get the black small dots.
            Look the picture below for baked Pita.

                            'Stove top' Pita breads are softer and spotted as shown below.

Tahini Sauce:

You will need:

1/2 cup Tahini paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 glove of garlice,finely minced
1 tbsp of finely chopped corainder
1/4 tsp of cumin powder

For Tahini paste:

1 cup of white sesame seeds
2 tbsp sesame oil/peanut oil

Dry roast sesame seeds on a pan for few mins on medium heat.

Grind the sesame seeds along with oil in a mixer until you get a smooth paste.This paste is Tahini.

In a bowl,add the tahini and water.Whisk until it become a homogenous mixture.
Add lemon juice,garlic,salt and coriander.Whisk until all are incorporated.Add ore water if you want it more watery.

Tahini sauce is ready.


You will need:

1 cup of Chickpeas
1 medium sized onion
2 red chillies
1 tbsp pepper
3 gloves of garlic
1/2 tsp of baking powder
4-5 sprigs of coriander
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
oil for frying

Soak chickpeas overnight.In a blender,coaresely grind all the ingredients from chickpeas to corainder.

Add the bread crumbs to the corasely ground mixture and mix well.

In a heavy pan,heat oil,make a patty out of the chickpea mixture.I used a 'Falafel maker'.If you dont have one,you can shape like 'Masala vada' and drop in oil.

Cook in medium flame.Remove from oil when it is browned.

French Fries:
You will need:

1/2 Kg of Potatoes(Russet vareity is very good for frying)
oil for frying

Peel the potatoes.To cut the potato into strips,keep the potato in longitudinal postion and slice them into 2 mm thick ovals.You will get 4-5 ovals.Lay each oval flat and cut them into strips.

Wash the potato strip in water to remove starch.Fill a vessel with 3/4th of water,add genorous amount of salt and bring it to boil.Add the potato strips.Cook for exactly 7 mins.Now the potato strips will cooked for 60-70% only.
Strain the potato strips and spread them on a kitchen towels.Pat them dry.

Heat oil.The temp(270.C) can be higher for frying french chips as it already cooked.We just need to be crispy in the outer.I fried the chips following the falafel.Fry until you get nice golden color on the edges.Transfer on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Grilled Eggplant:

You will need:

1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp pepper powder
2-3 tbsp oil

Cut the eggplant into thin round slices.
Mix the curry powder,cumin powder,pepper ,salt and oil to a paste.
Rub the paste on either sides of  the eggplant slices .Marinate for 1/2 hour.

In grill mode,grill the slices for 10 mins.5 mins on each side.
Or heat a tawa,place the slices on tawa and roast each sides until you get it crispy and browned.

Falafel Sandwich:

Peel and chop 1 cucumber.

Cut 2 tomatoes into wedges.

One can use lettuce.I dont get lettuce here.So i used strips of cabbage.

For pickle ,I used Jalapeno in vinegar..

Traditionally,the pita is cut cross -  sectionally,and all the goodies are sutffed in the pocket.As I have puffed the pita on direct flame,they are soft and flexible so i made as a wrap.

I placed 2 falafel slightly smashed.Some french fries,1 grilled eggplant,1 tomato wedge,2 pieces of cucmber,few cabbage strip,1 small piece of pickle,and of course some good amount of tahini sauce drizzled over them.Wrapped and inserted a tooth pick to hold them.

Served the with tomato ketchup and more tahini sauce.
In few mins,
The plate looked 'Khallas' !


  1. WOW!! You made everything at home, including Pita and Tahini. I LOVE LOVE that Falafel mould, wish I could get it here. What a great meal. Thanks for posting, you have really made a great effort for these! :))

  2. Thanks Asha,I got that falafel mould frm Kuwait.

  3. what a lovely post. I m drooling:)
    U are cooking great dear.

  4. This is a great such a good job!I'm amazed.

  5. oh yum, i love this! yup it sure does look khallas. i am super impressed with the recipes as well as the instructions and pictorial representations!

  6. I found a website that sells a Pita Oven: - I bought one and the shipping was free to Europe.

  7. thank you madhuji
    i can smell your falafeel right here

  8. You can also use ciabatta bread for this