Oh you are in for a treat with this post. I can say that, as it’s not my recipe so it’s not being arrogant at all ;). It all begins with a trip to your freezer to defrost an equal measure of frozen peas and frozen edamame (soya beans) and it ends with rapturous applause and very satisfied tummies! For what these tennis lawn green pulses turn into by way of a blender, a 1 tbsp sized ice cream scoop and some shallow frying are the pea version of the falafel – I give you, the “pea-lafel”!
Aarti Sequeira came into my life last year when they started airing her fabulous show Aarti Party on Sky TV. I became an instant huge fan and she managed to achieve something no other cook has in me – I got up, after the episode, scribbled recipe in hand and went straight to the butchers for the ingredients to make her beyond mouth watering Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Butt. Since then, I’ve been thoroughly smitten and regularly watch her shows (all recorded thanks to Sky Plus!) to give me inspiration as well as brighten my day. She’s a bubbly joy to watch and I just love how she’s gently introducing the apparently somewhat nervous American audience to Indian food. Like I said – I’m a big fan! Her recipes are super duper simple to make and I’ve tried lots and lots already. One which I’ve made the most but normally devour so greedily that I don’t get a photo of to blog the recipe for are her dinkily named pealafels. My new found “mindful eating” techniques slowed me down enough to get decent enough pictures to share with you here today 😉
Now you need a bit of kit to make this super speedy but if you have a spice grinder and a blender/food processor, this is the meal you need to make for your next evening meal. We start by toasting some fennel and coriander seeds until their heady aroma swells through your kitchen and you feel you are dining in your favourite Indian restaurant. We then tip them into the blender bowl (yay, Barney the Bamix gets another outing!) with all the other ingredients and process until smooth. Add some flour (rice for me – chickpea or besan for Aarti) and blitz once more to combine. Finito. All over bar the frying. I should say here feel free to use besan when you make your own pealafels – I can’t as in the almost 12 years me and Hungry Hubby have been an item, there have only been two things he would not eat of mine. One being (what I thought) delicious besan dumplings in a light tomato based curry! The other was panzanella for those intrigued (I know – insane!). Anyway….
If we ignore the fact we are frying our pealafels, this is an incredibly healthy dish and cheap to boot. I don’t add oil to the mix like Aarti does as I feel there is enough in the frying process but feel free to add a tablespoon of rapeseed or light olive oil to the pea mixture if you decide to have a go at baking these. I haven’t done that but would be interested to hear what they turn out like if any of you try it! It is otherwise packed full of nutrients by way of all the fresh goodies you use to make the wee little Kermit coloured balls and those from the ripe tomatoes, cold crisp cucumber and whatever else salad like vegetable matter you wish to serve these with. Plus edamame are extremely good for you, so I’m lead to believe ;).
Whatever, these babies have it all – a creamy texture that the traditional chalky chickpea variant can’t offer which tastes sublime but also means no crumbly falafels – a real problem with making your own at home. I have a teeny weeny ice cream scoop which is 1 tbsp in volume that I use to scoop my pealafels directly into the hot oil but feel free to make larger ones if you wish. Just cook them for slightly longer. They barely take a minute or two each side when this small to crisp up beautifully and I drain them on a baking sheet lined with some kitchen roll to sop up any excess oil and then pop the lot in the oven to stay warm and retain their crispness in a low oven as the next batch cooks.
Oh how I love this curvy white platter and relish an opportunity to get him out! This sort of Middle Eastern mezze dish is perfect served like this so you all can dig in and help yourself. It takes longer to piece together the pitta pocket slathered with a tahini dip* stuffed with salad veg and loaded with two or three slightly smushed pealafels, which I then drizzle with some hot chilli sauce (Sriracha for preference). *= I mix up a heaped tbsp of tahini with a finely grated garlic clove, pinch of salt and a really good squeeze of lemon juice. I then whip in some low fat Greek yogurt until I get a thick creamy texture with enough tang to cut through the sweetness of the pea patties. Oh thank god I have left overs for tomorrow!
So there we have it – a vegetarian feast which takes 20 minutes to put together. Just try and contain your greed and take longer than 20 seconds to inhale them. I tried, super hard! I hope you are more “mindful” then me 😉
- 1/2 cup frozen peas defrosted
- 1/2 cup frozen edamame defrosted
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- Handful of fresh mint leaves – to taste or dollop of mint sauce
- 2 tbsp rice flour or chickpea flour “besan”
- Rapeseed or mild olive oil for shallow frying
Gently toast the seeds together until fragrant then tip into a blender/food processor bowl with all the ingredients bar the flour and oil.
When well blended and smooth (the odd chunk matters not!) add the flour and blitz to combine – this should make it significantly less wet, add more if needed.
Heat enough oil for 1-2 mm depth on medium heat until barely a bubble appears on the surface – you want the pealafels to sizzle as they hit the oil.
Use a one tablespoon sized measure which has been well oiled to drop equal mounds of the pea mixture into the heated oil – don’t over crowd the pan and expect you’ll need to do 2-3 batches to use all the mixture.
Cook for 1-2 mins a side until golden brown, transferring to a low oven on a tray lined with kitchen roll to keep warm and absorb excess oil as each batch is cooked – serve stuffed into toasted pittas, see below for more suggestions!
Tahini, garlic, lemon juice and Greek yogurt blended to taste to make a thick sauce Chilli sauce (Sriracha for preference)
Adapted from Aarti Sequeira
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