Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Baked Falafel Muffins with Yogurt-Tahini Dip



Falafel???
Yumm!!

Baked Falafel Muffins
Cute and Delicious!!!


Though I am a hard core non vegetarian and cannot fathom the idea of having a meal without fish or meat, I must tell you that I am in love with these little bite sized  puppies. They are so darn cute and they taste phenomenal. Even better than their fried counterparts. 








Baked Falafel Muffins are my go to appetizers when I am entertaining my vegetarian friends. Its also my favorite snack to bring to a potluck party. They travel well and are a  breeze to reheat. I called them Baked Falafel Muffins because instead of shaping them into round patties and then baking them, I spooned the falafel mixture into mini muffin tin and baked them till they are cooked and crisp.






Though canned Chickpea or garbanzo works well, I love using the dried ones. I usually try to make a smooth paste and not leave it too chunky. I like my falafel spicy and use red chili powder pretty liberally. The coriander and cumin powder provides an unique smokiness, which I love. The fresh parsley provides a fresh bust of flavor. Cilantro/ coriander leaves can also be used instead of parsley but the flavors will change.




I find baking the falafels in muffin tins a lot easier than making patties. No matter what, I hardly can make uniform patties. Spooning a table spoon of mixture and stuffing them in the muffin tin, is way more easy and fun.





Falafels are pretty versatile. You can bake them in mini muffin tin and server as cute appetizers. Make them into big patties for a delicious vegetarian burger dinner. Or shape them as sliders and stuff them in pita pockets with slices of tomatoes and cucumber for a quick lunch.





I usually serve my Baked Falafel Muffns with my Yogurt-Tahini dip. For a vegan version, you can serve them with my Cilantro-Mint dip.


Recipe Snapshot: Baked Falafel  with Yogurt-Tahini Dip
Serves: 6 serving
(1 serving =4 falafels)

What I used:
For the Falafel:
Dried chickpeas - 3/4 cup 
or 
Canned  chickpeas or garbanzo beans - 2 can (15.25 oz each)

Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped
Garlic - 4 fat cloves, chopped
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder or Cayenne  - 1/2 tsp (or to taste)
(Paprika can be substituted in case you don't want any heat)
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Fresh Parsley - a big handful (1.5 cups packed), chopped
Dried Bread Crumbs - 2-4 tbsp (optional) (for gluten free version use corn meal)
Oil Spray

For the Yogurt-Tahini Dip:
Greek Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Tahini paste - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 1 small clove very finely minced
Lemon Juice - 2 tbsp
Honey or Agave Nectar - 1 tsp
Salt

For the Cilantro-Mint Dip: (Vegan version)
Cilantro/ Coriander leaves: 1 cup, packed
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup, packed
Green Chilies - 2 chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
Pine nuts - 1/4 cup
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Salt


What I did:
1. Soak the dried Chickpeas in ample water overnight. Next morning the chickpeas should have tripled in volume. The chickpeas should be completely submerged in water all the time. So add the water accordingly. For my 3/4 cup of dried chickpea, 4 cup of water was sufficient. This step is omitted if using canned chickpeas.

2. Preheat the oven at 375F. Spray an aluminium foiled lined cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray or with oil. I used a 24 cup mini muffin tin.

3. Drain the chickpeas.

4. In a food processor combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley. Pulse, with a teeny bit of water, till its a homogeneous mixture. You can leave it little coarse and grainy but not too chunky and definitely not a puree! The chutney consistency is the right consistency.

5. Take out the mixture in a bowl and add the salt and black pepper, lemon juice, coriander powder, cumin powder and red chili powder (or Cayenne or paprika) and mix well. 

6. To bind it together, add bread crumbs (not traditional but works well), a spoonful at a time and mix well. The moment you can make patties out of the mix, stop adding the breadcrumbs. The amount of flour/breadcrumbs you’ll need would depend on the amount of water, you used to grind the chickpeas. 

7. Once you formed the patties, arrange on the prepared cookie sheet. Spray with some more cooking spray and bake for 20 mins. Flip and cook for additional 10-15 mins. I spooned the mixture on my greased mini muffin pan and baked for 30-35 minutes. 

8. Serve with the Yogurt - Tahini dip .

For the Yogurt-Tahini Dip:
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Whisk to mix everything. Cover and chill for at least 1 hr before serving.

Tip: Use only Greek Yogurt. If using regular yogurt, hung it for couple of hours, till all the water is drained off. If you do not have honey, just skip it. Please do not add sugar instead. Honey is used to add depth to the layers of flavors and not used as a sweetener!

For the Cilantro-Mint Dip: (Vegan version)
1. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Puree everything. Then with the motor running, add the olive oil in thin stream. Continue pulsing till the dip emulsifies. 


Diabetic Platter:

Falafel is a part of the Mediterranean Cuisine. The heart-healthy Mediterranean is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking. Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.




Sending my Baked Falafel Muffins to Kolkata Food Bloggers's(KFB) Birthday celebrations. KFB's birthday party is going to be a finger food and dessert party and I am bringing Baked Falafel Muffins with Yogurt-Tahini Dip.
Happy Birthday Kolkata Food Bloggers!


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