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Taamia or Falafel

1 pound dried (skinless) split broad beans, soaked in cold water for 24 hours
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Good pinch of ground chili pepper or cayenne (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda or baking powder
1 large onion, very finely chopped or grated
5 scallions, very finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
Sunflower or light vegetable oil for deep-frying


The long soaking of the beans to soften them is all-important. After soaking, drain the beans very well and let them dry out a little on a towel. Then put them in a food processor and process until they form a paste, adding salt and pepper, cumin, coriander, chili pepper, and baking soda or baking powder (these last two release carbon-dioxide gas, which causes the paste to rise slightly and lighten). The paste must be so smooth and soft that it will hold together when you fry. Let it rest for at least 1/2 hour. Add the rest of the ingredients except the oil. If you have chopped or grated the onion in the food processor, strain to get rid of the juice, or the rissoles could fall apart when you fry. Knead the mixture well with your hands. Take small lumps and make flat, round shapes 2 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Let them rest for 15 minutes. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy pot until sizzling hot. Fry the patties in batches, without crowding them, until crisp and brown, turning them over once. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot, accompanied by hummus bi tahina or baba ghanouj , a tomato-and-cucumber salad, and pita bread. A common version is made by dipping the taamia in sesame seeds before frying them. If the paste does not hold together, it usually means that the beans have not been properly mashed. You can remedy this by adding 23 tablespoons flour. A quarter-ounce dried yeast dissolved in a few tablespoons lukewarm water may be mixed into the paste, which should then be allowed to rest for an hour. The result is lighter rissoles. A dry falafel ready mix is not nearly as good as the real thing, but you can use it to make a quick appetizer. Add water as directed on the packet, and allow the paste to rest for a while. To improve the flavor, add a little finely chopped parsley, finely chopped scallions, crushed garlic, and the other flavorings called for in the master recipe to taste, then shape and fry in oil as above. In Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, falafel are made with a mix of chickpeas and fava beans, and in Israel, where falafel has become the national dish, it is made with chickpeas alone. It is mostly the Israelis who have popularized falafel in the West, and their style is the one generally known abroad.

Source: www.epicurious.com