There is an Egyptian kebab shop around the corner from our house that makes the best broad (fava) bean falafel we've ever eaten. This recipe is our homage to them.
- 2 large Lebanese flatbreads
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 handfuls shredded iceberg lettuce
- ½ quantity tahini sauce (see Note)
- 1 tbsp Turkish pickled chillies
- 8–10 pickled turnips (see Note)
- 2 dill pickles (see Note), quartered lengthways
- 2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- 250 g (9 oz) dried broad (fava) beans, soaked in cold water for 12 hours
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ white onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- small handful parsley, roughly chopped
- small handful coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
- sesame seeds, for coating
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time: 12 hours
Chilling time: 1 hour
To make the falafel, roughly crush the cumin and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle. Drain the broad beans and rinse well, then transfer to a food processor along with the crushed seeds, bicarbonate of soda, onion, garlic and herbs, plus a good grind of salt and pepper. Blitz until well combined then transfer to a large bowl. Using your hands, form the mixture into about 12 falafel.
Cover the base of a shallow dish with sesame seeds and coat the falafel in the seeds. Set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up. Pop any falafel that you don't plan to use in a zip lock bag and place in the freezer, where they will keep for up to 3 months.
Dry-fry the flatbreads in a large frying pan over high heat for about 30 seconds on each side, until soft and warmed through. Set aside and keep warm. Add the vegetable oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium.
Add 6–8 falafel (or as many as you think you can stuff into your wraps) and fry for about 6–8 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. If your falafel is a little on the plump side, you may need to press down with a spatula to help them cook all the way through. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
Place the shredded lettuce in a line on one side of each wrap. Sit the falafel on top and drizzle over lots of tahini sauce. Test-run a pickled chilli. Most Turkish pickled chillies are relatively mild, but if it blows your head off (as we have experienced way too late, way too many times), deseed them before adding to your wraps. Top with a few pickled turnips, the dill pickles and tomato. Add another drizzle of tahini sauce, then fold up the bottom of the wrap and roll over the shorter side, trying to catch all of the ingredients as you roll. Roll up completely and serve while still warm.
• To make the tahini sauce, combine 65 g (21/4 oz/¼ cup) tahini, juice of 1 lemon and 1 finely chopped garlic clove in a small jar, along with a large pinch of salt and 90 ml (3 fl oz) water. Put the lid on and shake well. You may have to encourage the tahini to loosen with a spoon – the end consistency should be of very runny yoghurt. Tahini sauce will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge.
• To make pickled turnips, place 1–2 slices beetroot in a large sterilised glass jar, and add 450 g (1 lb) turnip, sliced into batons, about 1 cm (1/2 in) thick, gently pushing down so they are tightly packed. Add 1 bay leaf. Combine 150 ml (5 fl oz) white vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, ½ teaspoon sugar and 300 ml (10 fl oz) water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Pour enough hot pickling liquid over the turnips to completely cover them. Pop the lid on and leave to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge. The pickled turnips will take 1 week to reach maximum flavour and will keep for up to 4 weeks in the fridge.
• To make dill pickles, wash 8 (about 500 g/1 lb 2 oz) trimmed baby cucumbers (qukes) well and pat dry with paper towel. Pack them into a large sterilised glass jar along with the 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, 2 peeled and thinly sliced garlic cloves, and 3–4 dill fronds. Place 250 ml (81/2 fl oz/1 cup) white vinegar, 55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) sugar, 3 tablespoons sea salt flakes and 250 ml (81/2 fl oz/1 cup) water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Leave to boil for 2–3 minutes, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and pour into the jar, covering the cucumbers completely. Seal the jar and set aside to cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge. The pickles can be eaten after 2–3 days and will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
This recipe is from In Bread (Smith Street Books). Photography by Chris Middleton.