Note: For the 32 days between February 1st and March 4th, I'm adopting a completely vegan lifestyle. Every weekday I'll be updating my progress with a diary entry and a recipe. For past posts, check here!
These falafel-esque fritters started off as exactly that—an experimental recipe for falafel. My problem? I longed to have a recipe that could give me the satisfying crunch and nutty/herbal flavor of falafel without having to pull out the deep fryer.
The base for the fritters is made with canned chickpeas that I carefully dry and combine with bulgur wheat in the food processor. I found that if I add all the chickpeas at once, it's hard to get good textural contrast in the final dish. Better is to pulse half of them until roughly pureed to form a binder, then pulse the remaining half just until roughly chopped to give you nice big bits to bite into.
For flavor, I use a ton of herbs—parsley, cilantro, and mint—by the handful, blending them right into the mix along with a dash of coriander.
At first I thought that the solution to my deep-frying conundrum might be as simple as forming them into patties and shallow frying them. This didn't work too well—the patties disintegrated in the oil, leaving me with a sludgy browned mess to clean. It even happens in the deep fryer if you don't dry your canned chickpeas well enough
The solution was simple: just bread the suckers to give them a firm coating that will keep them from falling apart. As I found in my Fried Eggplant Sandwich recipe, a simple mix of flour and water works just fine to get breadcrumbs to adhere.
After that, it was a simple matter of making them into a meal. A bit of mashed avocado adds brightness, richness, and creamy texture to the mix, while a nice mixed green salad rounds it all out.