Growing up I remember visiting my grandmother in Rhode Island and she would spend all day in the kitchen making Syrian food. Everything from grapeleaves (she even grew and picked her own leaves), lamb kibbeh, tabouli, stuffed squash, etc. She never followed a recipe. Just did it from memory of watching her mother and grandmother. I’ve made her recipes (from an old cookbook my aunt gave me), but they’re so labor intensive I usually only make one item at a meal.
My son has been making a family tree and studying hertitage at school. The studies culminated in an International Potlcuk at the school. Each family was supposed to bring a dish from your family heritage. Originally my son asked me to make grapeleaves, but I just didn’t have the time to do that mid-week. Instead we selected falafel. Funny I don’t remember a lot of falafel at my grandmothers, but my family likes them and it’s quick. It also serves my vegetarian daughter well. This recipe is from Real Simple (I’m sure my grandmother would never use canned chickpeas). I did make her cucumber yogurt dip though. It too works with lamb or grapeleaves.
The event was really fun and I was amazed by the variety of foods. Everything from pot pies from England, samosas from Africa, pasta from Italy, sushi from Japan, to sausages from Germany and more. It would be a fun theme for any large gathering. And it was great to see kids, and adults trying foods they’ve never seen before.
2, 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh parseley, chopped
1 1/2 cups panko or dried breadcrumbs
2 eggs, whisked
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
(add a pinch of brown sugar if too sour)
In a food processor, processor chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water until almost smooth.
Add the shallot, cumin, red pepper, garlic, salt and parsley and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Pulse to add together.
Remove from processor. Roll unto 2 inch diameter balls and flatten slightly to form patties.
Place remaining breadcrumbs on a flat dish. Dip patties in eggs then roll in breadcrumbs to coat
For cucumber yogurt sauce combine all ingredients. Cover and let sit in refrigerator at lease 30 minutes.
Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook half patties (do not crowd) until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Add remaining oil if necessary and cook remaining patties.
Serve with yogurt cucumber dip, pita bread and spinach.