Falafel, warm pita bread, saganki, hummus and tzatziki sauce…yummy! Simple to make at home and good for you too!If you have never tried making Mediterranean food at home this would be a good time to start. It is not difficult and the results make the effort so very worth your time. I’m guessing your family will agree. Why not make some, or even all of these delicious dishes this weekend? They just might add some love and joy to your very abundant life!
These are a kind of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern street food that has found favor worldwide. Made as balls or patties from chickpeas and parsley and then fried, they seem to have originated as a meat substitute during Lent. But they are really delicious anytime!
1 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons flour
Oil for frying
Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl of a food processor. Add flour.
Combine ingredients in a food processor for only a few seconds. You want the result to be a thick paste. OR if making by hand, mash chickpeas, then mix in all the other ingredients together.
Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of ping pong balls. Slightly flatten the balls.
Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes).
2 cups whole milk yogurt (Greek yogurt is best because it is naturally thicker and creamier)
1 cucumber, peeled seeded and chopped
1 Tablespoon dried dill
3 cloves of garlic of finely minced
Combine all ingredients and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 package instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Add the yeast to 1/4 cup of warm water and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Leave it few minutes until it’s frothy.
In the bowl of a mixer, add flour and salt. Next add the frothy yeast and begin to mix.
Add the rest of the water gradually until a smooth dough forms. You might need to add some more water or you may need a bit more flour depending on the weather and how dry or humid the day is. The dough should be very soft but not sticky. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes.
(All of this can be done by hand but it is certainly easier to use a Kitchen Aide or other mixer with a dough hook if you have one.)
Oil a bowl large enough for the dough and add your dough turning it to cover it with a thin layer of oil. Leave the bowl in a warm place for an hour until the dough is doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 8 to 12 equal parts depending on how large you want your pita bread to be. Begin rolling out each piece into a circle on a lightly floured board. Try to make the dough circles not too thin nor too thick but about 1/2 inch thick. Place the circles of dough on baking sheets that have been lightly oiled or covered with a piece of parchment paper lining the baking sheets. Do not over crowd the bread.
Allow them to rest for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees while dough is resting. Bake on the lower rack of the oven for around 5-7 minutes until dough begins to puff . Pita bread should be white in color & soft. Don’t over bake it or you will end up with hard pitas.