Recently we walked by a local Middle Eastern falafel restaurant and I found myself pining over the golden brown fried chickpea balls so much that I resolved to make some…soon. Right after that my slow cooker committed hari-kari (in the middle of slow cooking chickpeas) and so I had to wait until I could buy some canned chickpeas. A travesty, I know, but I was out of options. Finally, I had my chickpeas, I had some light, refreshing veggies for a cucumber based tomato salad, and I even had some fresh basil for garnish. Basil might not be traditional, but personally I think everything is just a little bit better with a bit of basil. I kept thinking about the flat bread issue. Although I do have a Gluten Free Naan recipe I’m rather fond of that uses yogurt as its primary liquid, somehow it just didn’t seem right. So, I pulled out my worn copy of “The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread” and found a recipe for gluten free flat bread that is based on her white rice french bread mix. Although previously I didn’t have the best luck with this mix, I decided to give it another try, so I made the mix and whipped up a batch of her flatbread. It handled well, and looked fairly promising on the cookie sheet as it rose, but I’ve been disappointed before. Just in case it didn’t turn out, I threw together a recipe of my favorite Indian special rice for the rice cooker. (I know, it would have been better to make some pilaf, but I already had a package of the relevant spices pre-made, so laziness won out.) Luckily the flat bread turned out so well DH practically swooned when he saw it and when he tasted it, he proclaimed that “THIS IS EXACTLY what gluten flat bread tastes like! Make this anytime! Anytime!” When he heard it was based on a mix and I had enough left for several more recipes, he was about ready to make up more on the spot, but given how much food we had, he somehow restrained himself. Our non GF guest who has never had gluten free food before (knowingly, anyway) said she was really surprised that it was gluten free, and that it was really good. I served the falafel with an easy tahini mustard sauce, rice, and a salad I made up of cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper, and some of the previously mentioned red corn. I dressed it with a homemade cilantro dressing and garnished it with some heavenly local chive goat cheese.
Gluten Free Falafel Recipe
2 Cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs (toast bread or dry in pan in oven and then food process)
2-3 tbsp brown rice flour (superfine)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp (Freshly) ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper (or other cayenne pepper etc)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
Vegetables oil for frying
Bette Hagman’s French Bread Mix flatbread (if possible, or serve with Special Indian rice or other rice recipe)
Blend Chickpeas and bread crumbs in food processor, add ingredients up to salt and process. If you like you can leave it somewhat chunky. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and then shape into small balls and then flatten into little patties. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in cast iron or other heavy pan but not so hot that white smoke whisps up from it. Cook patties ideally for 2 and a half or three minutes on each side, but if oil is too hot you will have to remover them earlier and then bake them at 375 or so until done in the middle. Drain on paper towels or baking rack, serve with flatbread or rice and accompaniments of choice.
The flavor was excellent, even uncooked, but the center was not as solid as I would have liked, perhaps due to excessively hot oil. I also baked them for at least 15 minutes after frying. Very tasty with tahini mustard sauce.