Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February Daring Cook's Challenge - Patties

Time sure is flying, isn't it? Just in time for Valentine's Day, it's time to share this month's Daring Cooks' challenge!

The Daring Cooks' February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!

Okay, not overly Valentine-y, but that is completely not the point.

The biggest issue I had with this challenge, actually, was how broad it was. You can make patties out of, well, just about anything. I suppose that was the point, really - to really teach the community how easy and delicious it can be to create a meal out of just about anything... But it was hard for me to narrow down what I wanted to do.

After a whole lot of searching, the patties that were truly speaking to me were bean-based. Specifically black beans and chickpeas. Not together, mind you. But all kinds of black bean patties and chickpea patties were the varieties that I was most drawn to.

What made my decision, really, was the half-full bag of dried chickpeas sitting in my pantry. Chickpea patties it was! And to me, the premier chickpea patty is the falafel. I found a really delicious looking recipe here, and used that for guidance.

I started by soaking the chickpeas overnight.

The chickpeas, once soaked, were put into the (mini) food processor (attachment of my immersion blender) with several cloves of garlic and some coarsely chopped red onion.

The recipe actually called for all of the ingredients to be mixed up in the food processor, but, seeing as I was using a mini version, I didn't want to overwhelm it. So I chopped the big stuff in there and then mixed the rest of the ingredients (the spices, really) in by hand. I also did not follow exactly the spices dictated by the recipe, as I didn't have them. Honestly, I think it is fair to season these how you'd like, so I didn't feel too badly about that. But one day I hope to have the right variety of spices on hand to try the combination in the actual recipe.

Anyway, the ground up chickpeas, garlic and onion were mixed with lemon juice and spices, and then the bowl was transferred to the refrigerator, as I made the batter early in the day for that night's dinner.

One of the reasons that I'd chosen this specific recipe, despite the fact that I didn't have the correct variety of spices, was for the accompanying yogurt sauce that was listed along with the falafel. Very intriguing. And super easy. Yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, a bit of olive oil - just mix everything together and there you have it!

With all of the dinner prep done in the morning, all that was left was to enjoy the day and wait until it was time to fry everything up!

Instead of round falafel, I made mine into mini-patties, just shaping the rounds by hand.

I chose canola oil for frying, but you could choose whatever you're comfortable with. Into the pan these guys went, and then let them get nice and golden brown.

These cooked up fairly quickly, and dinner was soon ready. I set the fried falafel on a cooling rack, which had been set over paper towels on a cookie sheet in order to drain.

To serve my falafel patties, I made homemade pita (using the recipe from the mezze challenge from a couple of years ago) and prepared a quick Israeli salad, consisting of diced cucumber and tomatoes with a simple lemon juice/olive oil dressing.

While this was a fun and tasty meal, I think I enjoyed it more than the rest of the family. I actually anticipated that, and made sure I had hearty enough side dishes (ie: leftover meat from the previous night's roast) to make sure that everyone still ate well. The patties were fun, the yogurt sauce was mild yet delicious, and the pita, as always, was a ton of fun and super delicious.

Thanks, Audax and Lis, for sharing the fun and versatility of patties with us this month!

To see the tasty varieties fried up in the kitchen this month, check them out here.

Falafel Patties
(slightly adapted from Manu's Menu)

1/2 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight (yields one cup of soaked chickpeas. You can substitute 1 cup canned chickpeas if you need to)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red onion (I used half of a large red onion), chopped
1 - 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
approximately 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs (or flour)
salt, pepper, paprika, mustard powder and parsley flakes to taste
Canola oil (or vegetable oil) for frying

Drain the soaked chickpeas as well as you can.
Combine all of the ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth and dry. You should be able to shape them easily into small discs. If the mixture is too sticky, add a little bit more breadcrumbs.
Shape the mixture into small discs and fry them over medium heat until dark, golden brown on both sides.
Remove cooked falafel patties from pan and drain on paper towels or kitchen towels.

Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced well
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, simply mix all ingredients together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Your Falafel really made me want to make some, and I have a bag of dried chickpeas in my pantry as well! Love the combination of the sauce, the salad and the pitta. A fantastic job, Shelley!

  2. Wow, every part of your dish looks great from the patties to the Israeli salad to the sauce. I'm going to add this to my list of recipes to try!

  3. Oh yum! Your falafel patties look perfect! I bet they were real fun to eat, especially with that delicious sounding sauce!

  4. Oh, falafel sounds like another fun one to try. I've never had it! They look great, thanks for sharing!

  5. I loved your falafel ever since I saw them on the forum. Believe it or not, I have never made falafel. They are so readily available here but your recipe made me decide I must change that real soon. Great job on this challenge as always

  6. Love falafel-great interpretation of this months challenge. I too had "patty paralysis" but was spurred on by what was in the pantry!

  7. Nice falafels! I tried making some many (*many*) years ago, and failed miserably. I think I should try it again. I've always loved them!

  8. gorgeous falafel! They are such a pretty golden color. Fantastic job (as always!)

  9. Falafels now that is a great idea for this challenge and the yoghurt dip sounds so delicious. A wonderful result I like the idea of the pita bread also a super job. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  10. Might have to go have some falafels tomorrow - they are not very Valentine-y - are they :)

  11. They look delicious - love how the crust looks so crispy almost like something from KFC! :)

  12. Falefels are delish. I can't believe you also made your own Pita! I'd pass on the left over roast beef for your falafel any day. I just had to tell you before I submitted my comment that my CAPTCHA word was "boner"....I'm so immature, but it made me giggle!

    1. Hahaha! Rhonda, I get a kick out it when the captcha actually spells something... I just hope it wasn't making some kind of commentary about those falafels... Hmm... LOL!! :)

  13. Great job! Almost makes me want to try Falafal(I hate chickepeas}:P) !

  14. Wow! Those look great. I am getting hungry now. Well done!

  15. Those look so good! I am still kicking myself for cooking up all my chickpeas. I'll be out of town for March, but am bookmarking this for when I return. I do make black bean patties all the time, though, and they are delicious. Maybe your family will prefer them. If not, more for you!

  16. Well, I'm getting out the bag of chickpeas, these sound terrific. I want to make my pita as well, haven't done that in way too long.

  17. Shelley, I cannot believe there is no breading of any sort on your falafel! Let me tell you, I lived, breathed and ate falafel for years while living in the city, and I never saw one that looks as good as yours! What I would give for one now! I'm definitely using your recipe!

  18. I really like how you turned them into patties - it seems to make them less intimidating! I need to make these at my house!

  19. Me again, Shelley, just to let you know that I made the falafels and they turned out great! I didn't serve with pita as you did, but they made for a delicious snack. Thanks for the inspiration!


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