I'm really enjoying this cookbook called Discovery of a Continent by Marcus Samuelsson featuring African cuisine. I loooooove Ethiopian food, but haven't gotten the courage to try some of the Ethiopian recipes. (If you know of any good Ethiopian restaurants in the Chicago 'burbs tell me in the comments!) Instead, I decided to try good ol' falafels, with mixed results.

The recipe calls for some amazing spices.
If only I could upload smells to this blog. This is a combo of crushed coriander, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper (and baking powder but you can't smell that. I guess you can't really smell salt either.). Written down it doesn't sound that impressive, but man it smelled good. Coriander smells way better than it sounds, and it sounds pretty good! So anyway, I couldn't wait to eat my delicately fried, perfectly circular spice and chickpea concoction. I threw the spices, chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice into the food processor.
At this point, it was good enough to eat already. But I still had to fry them, and that can only make it way better, right? 
Ha! They totally disintegrated in the oil! I have no idea why. Mr. Samuelsson warned me that this might happen, and suggested that I should add an egg to the mixture, so I did. Didn't help at all. So why couldn't I fry them? Let's solve this mystery together. Here are some possible reasons for the frying failure.
  1. That dinky thermometer you see there only goes up to 220 degrees, and I was supposed to heat the oil to 350, so I really have no idea how hot it was. 
  2. I used baking powder instead of baking soda, even though my trusty substitution website tells me that is taboo, because I did not have baking soda.
  3. Shamefully, I used canned chickpeas! I know, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I didn't feel like soaking dried chickpeas in water for 24 hours, even though Mr. Samuelsson required it. 

Eventually, I resorted to making patties of the chickpea mixture, and frying them on a pan. They still didn't stick together that well and they weren't that pretty. But they were very very tasty, and despite my troubles, I would still recommend it!
Yes, those are tv trays. I am not ashamed!
Interesting closing remark: Did you know that the Latin word for chickpea is cicer? Cicero's, the famous Roman orator, name is related to that word. Funny, huh?

06/10/2010 13:01

The end result looks totally delicious! Trevor and I have been trying out new recipes this last month. My favorite was mango dal, which used a lot of the same spices (YUM).

06/11/2010 14:39

Results are what counts...looks like it was good!

06/30/2010 09:44

Pork looks delicious...will have to try! Yeah I used baking powder instead of baking soda last week on some Toll House cookies. Then on the second batch I used the baking soda. The ones that I used the baking powder on were more dense than the ones that I used the baking soda on!

07/11/2010 10:19

Dollars to donuts it was the oil. My thermometer sucks too. When frying I usually heat the oil till it just starts to smoke and then start frying. You can usually look up the smoking point of an oil. Peanut oil smokes between 320-450 F depending on the refinement.


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