Wednesday, 21 November 2012

leon's sweet potato falafel revisted

leon's sweet potato falafel revisited
leon’s baked sweet potato falafel are a favourite at thirty-two. i am not entirely sure how they are ‘falafel’ in the true sense as they are far removed from the deep fried chickpea balls of the middle east. but whatever you call them they are real delight. i’ve played around with the recipe several times and this last version hit just the right spot. the sumac and the lemon give a double citrus note and the black sesame seeds are crunchier than their white siblings. 

leon serves its sweet potato falafel in a khobez wrap that is grilled like a panino. a rather aggressive garlic aioli tames the caramel notes of the sweet potato. i much prefer a tahini yoghurt sauce made by whisking tahini and a splash of olive oil with greek yoghurt. the tahini retains the sharpness that the garlic brings but is a better compliment. a trickle of sticky pomegranate molasses adds another layer of flavour. so here’s my version of leon’s baked sweet potato falafel. 

{leon’s sweet potato falafel remixed} 

seven hundred grams orange sweet potatoes 
one teaspoon ground cumin 
one teaspoon sumac 
one teaspoon salt 
juice of half a lemon 
a hundred and thirty grams chickpea flour 
two big handfuls chopped fresh parsley 
a splash of olive oil 
black or white sesame seeds to sprinkle 

preheat the oven to two hundred degrees celsius. thoroughly wash the sweet potatoes, pierce with a fork and wrap each one in a square of foil. roast the sweet potatoes until just tender. turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool and then peel. 

put the flesh of the roasted sweet potatoes along with the rest of the ingredients except the black or white sesame seeds into a large mixing bowl. mash the mixture until it is quite smooth but with a little interest. this means that there should be no large chunks but a small chunk here and there which provides a little texture. 

refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour before you plan to shape it into falafels. i like my mixture on the firmer side so that i can make little patties. this means adding a little more chickpea flour than the original recipe calls for. you may need to play around with the amount to get the mixture to a sturdy consistency as the water content of the sweet potatoes tends to vary. 

preheat the oven to two hundred degrees celsius before you begin to shape your falafel. you may need to wet your palms intermittently to keep them from getting too sticky. take a ping pong ball sized amount of the mixture and fashion into small patties placing them on an oiled baking tray as you go along. sprinkle black or white or a mixture of both sesame seeds on top and bake for fifteen minutes. the bases will turn a shade deeper and the skin of the falafel will look matte and drier than the mixture. 

serve with tahini yoghurt sauce, a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and pita.

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