In one word it's Falifil A Middle Eastern multi use food. I love the natural ingredients you'd find at an american health food store. Let me introduce you to the ones you need for this dish.
We will use the following for this recipe: Falafil mix, pita bread, Tahini sauce, sliced tomato, peeled sliced cucumber, onions thinly sliced. oil for frying.
Falafil mix (see photo) is a pre-prepared ground mix of chick peas, and spices. For those of you with spare time I can put a recipe to prepare your own, if I get enough requests. Lyndy's 1st grade teacher loved the fresh made falfafil and my friend Annette would make the falafil for his lunches and he would share them with any of his class wishing a taste. The prepared falfafil mix is available in the Northwest at PCC, Central market and most locations selling health food. It is a finely ground meal and to every cup of meal you add 3/4 cup of water, stir and let stand for 15 minutes. You can smell the spices as it hydrates! Easy Easy.
Tahini is ground sesame seeds, sometimes toasted sometimes not, you can buy a sauce already made in the cold area of your health food store. It's good and convenient. Or you can buy the Tahini, it's fairly hard paste, use 1 cup to 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, 3 cloves garlic crushed and some salt. Mix into a creamy sauce. Pita is a flat bread that when cooked has a big bubble in the center making a pocket when you cut the round loaf in half. It's the prefect holder for sandwich food. You can buy it at the store (aka dry and gets holes easily) or you can try the recipe I will include for Pita bread. I make tons of it. The dough keeps very well in the fridge and a bit can be pulled off and baked when ever you want fresh pita. You need an oven baking stone to cook it on and it is perfect, pocket or not!
Ok lets make dinner!
Now form the moist falafil dough into round balls, or flat patties. 1/2" thick on the patties and the balls cook better if the size of large olives. Traditionally these are deep fried in a good oil. They are delicious, crunchy and perfect for our sandwich. You may however bake them. Oil a foiled pan and then if you have an oil sprayer, give the top a spray. This will give you a little crispness. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15 min, turn over and bake until brown and crisp.
If you do wish to fry there are a dozen safety hints and frying tips all you can get online athttp://chinesefood.about.com/library/bldeepfrytips.htm Not having a wok I use a very small sauce pan that I keep just for frying a few falafil balls or patties. It doesn't take much oil, heats quickly but I can only put in about 5 balls or 1 patty at a
The Falafils fry quickly, once brown drain on paper towels. Now if you have children in the house and you are worried about all this hot stuff. Put it on the back burner, turn those handles away from the kids and with a ribbon, yarn, or jump rope put in a half circle on the floor around your "hot" area. This will help the kids understand stepping inside the area can result in burns.
Cut the pitas in half. Line the side of the Pita with tomato, cucumber, add the fried falafils some lettuce and lots of the yummy tahini sauce. Nutritious, yes very and delicious.
If you can't get tahini for the sauce a reasonable tasting sauce can be made with plain yogurt, crushed garlic, some lemon juice and a bit of olive oil. If you use Greek yogurt it will be a thick sauce if you don't a thin one. But made ahead it is good! You can serve Falafils hot or cold both are wonderful.