Falafel

Falafel is one the most favourite fast foods in the Middle East. Falafel is an Arabic word,and plural ‘ filfil’ meaning “pepper”. Falafel is a meatless food and good source of protein and suitable for vegetarians.

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Originally it is spicy but in any country it has adjusted based on the taste of people. Falafel is made of chickpeas or fava beans. Egyptians make falafe with fava beans and sometimes with combination of both. But if you make with chickpeas, they should be soaked and then should be ground up or mashed and mix with beautiful spices and vegetables such as onions, garlic parsley.

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Falafe serves with flat bread ( Naan ), pita bread, or Budget bread and garnished with different things such as tomato, cucumber, lettuce, fresh herbs, tahini sauce, spicy sauce, humus, chutney, garlic yogurt. Or they are just perfect on their own.
Falafel can be eaten cold or hot. This chickpea balls are mostly popular in S and SW of Iran but in other cities of country such as Tehran is very popular too.

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Ingredients

  • 450 g chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2 tbsp  plain flour or chickpeas flour
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • A bunch of parsley
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2tsp cumin
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil

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Ingredients for mint-parsley sauce

  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • Small bunch of mint and parsley
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • Salt to taste

 

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Preparation
If you want your falafel to turn out right, you need to soak dried chickpeas overnight. So they will be double in size. Next day, drain and rinse them. Pour chickpeas into a food processor. Then add all ingredients ( except flour)  for falafel into the food processor and make smooth mixture.

 

Then add flour and   season the chickpeas mixture with all above mentioned spices. Mix all together very well. Using wet hands or a falafel scoop, form falafel mixture into round balls or oval shape. By the way,  If you wish, sprinkle some sesame seeds on each chickpeas ball too .Then place chickpea balls in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

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Falafel is traditionally fried but you can bake it instead too. So bake falafel in 175 C degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
And if you want to fry falafel, add enough oil for deep frying in a deep saucepan. Place the pot over a high heat and heat the oil, then drop falafel balls in the oil and fry until brown ( 7-8 minutes).


For making sauce, you need to place all ingredients for sauce in a blender and make a smooth sauce.

 


When all falafels are fried. You can serve them plain or Wrap 3-4 of falafels in a pita bread, topping with sauce and enjoy it.

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Falafel

Ingredients
300 g chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 cloves of garlic
1 large onion.
A bunch of parsley
Salt – pepper to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1tsp coriander powder
Oil
Ingredients for mint-parsley sauce
3 tbsp. plain yogurt
Small bunch of mint and parsley
1 small bell pepper
Salt to taste
Preparation
If you want your falafel to turn out right, you need to soak dried chickpeas overnight. So they will be double in size. Next day, drain and rinse them. Pour chickpeas into a food processor. Then add all ingredients for falafel into the food processor and make smooth mixture.
Then add and season the chickpeas mixture with all above mentioned spices. Mix all together very well. using wet hands or a falafel scoop, form falafel mixture into round balls .Then place chickpea balls in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Falafel is traditionally fried but you can bake it instead too. So bake falafel in 175 C degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
And if you want to fry falafel, add enough oil for deep frying in a deep saucepan. Place the pot over a high heat and heat the oil, then drop falafel balls in the oil and fry until brown ( 7-8 minutes).
For making sauce, you need to place all ingredients for sauce in a blender and make a smooth sauce.
When all falafels are fried. You can serve them plain or Wrap 3-4 of falafels in a pita bread, topping with sauce and enjoy it.

zucchini fritters with orange-yogurt sauce

Maybe you do not like zucchini (courgette) taste, but you can make it tasty and enjoy it now and again.
Zucchini is very watery and best way or let’s say ways to remove excess water is to salt the zucchini and then squeeze it.
Today I have my zucchini cakes with orange-yogurt sauce. Just give a try and find out how much they are tasty, delicate and light.

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Ingredients
1 large zucchini, coarsely grated
3 baby carrots, grated
2 spring onions, chopped
1 small bunch fresh dill leaves, chopped
3 large eggs
150 g haloumi cheese, grated
1 clove garlic
1tsp baking soda
2tbsp bread crumbs
Salt and chili flakes to taste
Olive oil

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Ingredients for orange-yogurt sauce
1 orange zest
1 small clove garlic
3tbsp plain yogurt

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Preparation
Grate the zucchini. Because zucchini is really watery I have used two methods to remove the water. First of all, toss with salt to draw out the liquid ( 15 minutes). Then place it in a kitchen towel, bring corners of towel together and squeeze out the liquid as possible.

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Place grated zucchini in a bowl, add grated haloumi cheese, garlic, carrots, chopped spring onions and dill, baking soda, bread crumbs, eggs, and season with salt and chili flakes.
Stir to combine well.


Heat the oil in a pan. Drop 1 tbsp of mixture into the pan and cook 5 minutes each side.
Mix orange zest and grated garlic with yogurt.

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Serve the zucchini fritters with orange yogurt sauce. 
Serve the zucchini fritters with orange yogurt sauce.

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Manti ( Persian Dumpling)

Manti or mantu is a kind of dumpling that is popular in many countries such as Iran, Turkey, China, Armenia, Poland, Russia..
It’s made with dough and fill with combination of ground meat and spices or cheese or herbs and vegetables.
Manti (mantu) is a popular dish between Turkmen people who are living in East coast of Caspian Sea in Iran.

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Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
1 cup water
1 egg
200g ground beef
1 onion, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
100 g shredded cheddar cheese

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Ingredients for  tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried mint
Salt and pepper

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Ingredients for yogurt sauce
½ cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and chilli flakes
How to make it
In a large bowl with flour, add salt. Combine the beaten egg with water and pour over the flour. Using your hand, mix the flour for few minutes. Then add olive oil and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
This dough for making dumpling should be hard. Place it in a bowl, cover it with towel and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

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Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine grated onion with ground meat. Season with salt and pepper.

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Also make two sauces: the garlic yogurt sauce : in a bowl beat the plain yogurt with grated garlic, olive oil, salt and chilli flakes. Set aside.

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For tomato sauce, heat the oil in a pan. Add tomato paste , dried mint, salt and pepper. Mix together and simmer for 2 minutes.

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Now, dough is ready. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Working one piece of dough at a time.

On a floured surface, roll the dough as thinly as you can. Using a cutter, cut the dough into small squares as you see in the photo.

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Place a little bit of the filling ( meat or cheese) into the middle of the each square shape dough.

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And pinch the opposite corner to seal it firmly.

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Repeat with the rest of the dough that would be lots .
Bring the salted water in a pot to a boil. Gently place 5-6 of dumpling in a time in the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes and until dumplings come to the surface of the boiling water.

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Take them out of the pot and let the manti cool. You can freeze some portion of this boiled manti.
Place the manti in a plate, pour some yogurt sauce over it and then drizzle tomato sauce over the yogurt sauce. It is just heavenly tasty.

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Persian lamb Kidneys with Tomato Sauce

Lamb kidneys ( Gholveh) is a juicy,  very simple and inexpensive dish with tomato sauce that is prepared quickly.

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Ingredients

5 lamb kidneys
2 onions. Finely chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 potatoes, cut into the small cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. flour
Butter or Oil

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Preparation
Wash lamb kidneys, and cut into half. Slightly coat in the flour. Heat the oil in the pan, and fry each side for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry diced onions until slightly translucent.


Then, in a bowl with tomato paste, add salt- pepper, turmeric and 150 ml. water. Blend together. Pour tomato sauce and fried onions over the fried kidneys. Let it to cook for 5 minutes. Then add diced tomatoes. Cover the pan, and allow to cook over low flame for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.


Meanwhile, fry chopped potatoes in the oil, add some salt and turmeric. Stirring occasionally until fried.
Serve the kidneys with fried potatoes and salad.

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Lamb Shawarma

Shawaram or doner kebab is one of most popular fast food or street food  in many countries.

This gorgeous kebab originally made with lamb or mutton but nowadays,  you can make shawarma with beef, chicken or mixture of both.  It  cut in thin slices and serve as a kind of sandwich wrap inside a flatbread or baguette bread along with sauce and salad.

 

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Ingredients for marinating kebab:
400 gr lamb meat
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 large potatoes
3 tbs Olive oil
2 tb lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
Pepper- salt to taste
Bread ( budget or pita bread as you prefer)

Ingredients for sauce
Half of cucumber
handful of fresh mint and dill leaves
2 tbs Olive oil
2 tbs Greek yogurt
Pinch of red/black pepper

 

Preparation
For making sauce, cut cucumber into slices and chop herbs as well. Place yogurt, herbs and cucumber and pepper into the blender and pure it. Put it aside.
Cut meat lamb into thin strips. Peel off one of onions and grate it. Place meat, grated onion, olive oil, lemon juice, turmeric, pepper and curry powder in a big bowl. Mix them very well and then put it into a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge over the night.
Peel off potatoes, cut them lengthwise and fry them.

Peel off second onion and slice it. Cut tomatoes into chunks. Fry onion slices over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add tomato to the fried onion. Let it to cook for more 5 minutes. Keep it warm over law heat until kebab is ready to serve..
Heat up a pan, then put oil after it’s heated up add marinated lamb strips and cook it until meat strips has browned.

Kebab is ready now. For serving this sandwich first put a layer of fried onion and tomato, second layer would be fried lamb strips and finish it with sauce. Serve it with fried potatoes. Nosh-e Jan

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