Thursday, 18 July 2013

Homemade Felafel, Hummus and Flatbreads served with Griddled Vegetables

Back once again!

Shortly after arriving back from the shop with my ingredients, the yoghurt tried to escape. It succeeded.

This is a recipe I've been meaning to put on Rocket Bean since I started writing the blog last year, but I've not made Hummus in so long. I'm really not sure why, considering how easy it is to throw together. And, if you have the Tahini prepared in advance then you're more than halfway there.

I haven't made the flatbreads before, it was a recipe I came across on Jamie Oliver's website (so I can take no credit for that one), after trying them I can say that they were very easy to make, tasty and I had some for breakfast this morning and I even made a bunch more this afternoon.

Serves 4

Ingredients for the Flatbreads-

500g Self Raising Flour
1tbsp Sea Salt
1tbsp Baking Powder
500g Natural Yoghurt

The flatbreads are fairly straightforward, mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

I mixed everything together using a spoon first before turning the mixture out onto a floured surface (the recipe says that you may want to add a little more flour if the mixture becomes too sticky).

Next knead the mixture until it comes together and roll out into a long baguette shape. Cut this loaf into 12-14 sections (depending on how large you want your breads to be).

You will want to roll each section into a ball (on a floured surface, to prevent sticking). Whilst doing this, preheat a griddle or non-stick frying pan to a high heat. Now, dust a rolling pin with a little flour and roll out each piece of dough. Roll them to your preferred thickness, they will rise a little during cooking so you can get away with them being pretty thin.

I found that about 4-5 minutes per side is enough to cook the breads . Leave to cool or eat straight from the griddle.

A lot of recipes for Hummus say that the Tahini is optional or sometimes leave it out altogether but I think it is essential to the recipe and that making your own can make a big difference to the dish. As mentioned before, having it prepared in advance will mean you can throw a Hummus together pretty quickly.

Ingredients for the Tahini-

200g Sesame Seeds
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste

To make the Tahini simply place the sesame seeds onto a baking tray and place in a preheated oven at 180ºc for around 10-15minutes, turning regularly. You want the seeds to go a light golden brown colour, although not brown or darker as this can make the tahini taste quite unpleasant. 

Remember to turn the seeds every few minutes to ensure they cook evenly

Once the sesame seeds have toasted, put them into a blender and add in the Olive Oil. I would recommend using around 5-6 tablespoons of oil as this should give the tahini a fairly 'runny' consistency and allow for easier pouring. The mixture should have a similar taste to peanut butter. Ideally you should make a fair amount of Tahini (this recipe makes enough for 2-3 batches of Hummus based on these quantities) as it can be stored for around 6-8 weeks in the fridge, plenty of time for making your next batch of Hummus. 

Ingredients for the Hummus-

1x Tinned Chickpeas, drained

2x Garlic Cloves, diced
1tsp Coriander, ground
1tsp Cumin, ground
1tsp Paprika
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper to Taste
150ml Tahini

If you are using tinned chickpeas then no cooking is involved in the making of the Hummus, simply add all of the ingredients into a blender and mix well. 

It's best to be frugal with the ingredients at this point, i.e. don't add too much salt, pepper, garlic or lemon juice, I would recommend blending and then sampling the mixture as you can always add more later. I have often added too much garlic to the Hummus and due to the fact it is uncooked it can be a little overpowering. You can also experiment with adding in chili powder, smoked paprika or extra lemon juice for a different tasting hummus.

Ingredients for the Felafel-

2x Tinned Chickpeas, drained
1x Large Onion, diced
2x Garlic Cloves, diced
2 tbsp Plain Flour
1tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin, ground
1 tsp Coriander, ground
Salt and Pepper to taste

As before, if using tinned chickpeas there is no cooking required n the making of the Felafel mixture, simply add all of your ingredients to a blender and mix well. You can also mash the ingredients by hand, using a fork on account of how soft the tinned chickpeas are.

Once mixed together sufficiently, add two generous tablespoons of flour and mix again. Now, flour the work surface (and dust your hands with flour) again and take about one table spoon of the mix in the palm of your hand and roll into a ball, it should be roughly the size of a golf ball.

Traditionally, Felafel are deep fried in oil (around 350ºc for a little over 5 minutes) but I tend to place them on a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper and drizzle with a little olive oil before placing into a preheated oven (180ºc) for around 30-35minutes until they harden a little and go slightly brown.

The Felafel were made during the day and allowed to cool. So I fried them with just a little oil for about 10 minutes whilst cooking the vegetables in a griddle pan.

This recipe makes enough of everything for about four people, although it will serve two with plenty of leftovers for the perfect hummus/felafel/flatbread sandwich for lunch.

Note: if you are using dried chickpeas for either the Hummus or Felafel you will need to soak them overnight before cooking. Add them to a pan of hot water, bring to the boil and then simmer for around an hour until soft.