Falafel Patties with Rice and Lemon Tahini Sauce

Savour the flavours of this updated Middle-Eastern classic falafel recipe with Tahini sauce. The addition of rice to the traditional ingredients of chick peas, herbs and spices, creates a lighter textured patty. These falafels can be served as single portions – perfect for appetizers or children or as a main meal for those with heartier appetites.

1 cup  dried chickpeas    250 mL
1  small onion, diced    1
2 cloves garlic, minced    2
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley    60 mL
1 tbsp lemon juice    15 mL
2 tsp ground cumin and ground coriander    10 mL
1 1/2 tsp each salt, baking powder and paprika    7 mL
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper    1 mL
1/3 cup chickpea (gram) flour or all-purpose flour    75 mL
1 cupcooked and cooled U.S. brown rice    250 mL
1/2 cup (approx) vegetable oil (approx)    125 mL (approx)
5  pita breads    5
2 or 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced    2 or 3
half cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced    half
1/3 cup finely diced red onion (optional)    75 mL

Lemon Tahini Sauce:
1/2 cup tahini    125 mL
6 tbsp lemon juice    90 mL
6 tbsp water    90 mL
1/4 tsp each salt, freshly ground pepper and ground cumin    1 mL
In large bowl, pour enough cold water over chickpeas to cover by 2 inches (5 cm); let stand for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain well.



In food processor, coarsely chop chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, baking powder, paprika and cayenne, stopping to scrape down sides once or twice. Add flour until blended, about 5 seconds. Add rice, pulsing just until incorporated with some grains remaining. Let stand for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Lemon Tahini Sauce:

In small bowl, whisk tahini with lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in enough water to make pourable sauce.

Pour enough oil in heavy-bottomed skillet to come 1/4 inch (5 mm) up side of pan; heat over medium heat. Shape mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls into balls; flatten to 1/2 –inch (1 cm) thickness. In batches, fry falafel patties, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Transfer to baking tray and keep warm in 200°F (100°C) oven while cooking remaining patties.

Cut each pita in half; open to form pocket. Stuff each with 3 falafel patties, plus some of the tomatoes and cucumber. Drizzle with lemon tahini sauce; sprinkle with red onion, if using.

Makes: 30 pieces (10 servings)

PER SERVING (1/2 pita serving with falafel, garnish and sauce): 305 calories, 11 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 384 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrates, 7 g fibre, 10 g protein. % RDI: 11% calcium, 26% iron, 2% vitamin A, 22% vitamin C.

SOURCE: USA Rice Federation, www.riceinfo.com.