Tuesday, August 9, 2011

MYO Falafels

For basically my entire life, I've been listening to my traveling friends and family rave about falafels.  Whenever anyone went anywhere across the ocean, it always seemed like they came home describing fluffy pita bread and the delicious sauce.  I trust the opinions of my fellow foodies, so when I moved to Tallahassee, I ventured out--hoping to share in their joy.  I tried three different falafel/gyro joints in town, and left each establishment unfulfilled and reeking of old grease.

But then we went to Amsterdam and joined the club of people who rave about falafels; the ones that are five-hundred-times-better than anything you've ever tried.  (Keep reading friends. There is hope...)

Jamie recognized the term Hilal, which is to Muslims what Kosher is to Jews.  He was confident that the food would be excellent. 

He said that it was the best falafel he'd ever had...and he's had quite a few of them.  It was definitely five-hundred-times-better than anything I had ever tried in the States.

Jamie ordered this...

but he regretted not ordering a falafel.

The cook brought us out two delicious sauces to decorate our pitas; one was a creamy ranch-type sauce and the other was a spicy red sauce.

I've been craving this meal ever since, and I was so excited when my friend, Jenna, posted a falafel recipe on her blog. 

Jenna and I have never met, but she's still my friend. 

Anyway, this is what we had for dinner tonight...

Sorry about the horrible picture.  I was starving, and too lazy to go and find my real camera.

As you might be able to see, my falafel didn't stay in a patty form...but the crumbles worked perfectly for this Middle-Eastern taco.  I haven't found tahini sauce in Lawton, so I just threw in a half a cup of toasted sesame seeds instead.  I was going to serve a falafel salad, but I found this pita bread at Wal-Mart.  It was definitely a better alternative than what I normally find, but I think next time I'll try Naan bread.

Yes, it's always a better decision to rule out salad and explore the myriad of bread choices.

After warming up the pita bread, we layered lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion, the falafel, my thrown-together creamy sauce and hot sauce.  For the creamy sauce, I mixed together about 3/4 cup greek yogurt, a small spoonful of mayo, salt, lots and lots of dill, and enough lemon juice to reach a desired consistency.  I searched the grocery store for something that I thought would come close to the spicy sauce that we had in Amsterdam, and I found this.     

The sauces tasted very similar to what we tried in Amsterdam, and the combination of everything was even better than expected.  It didn't top the Hilal Falafel, but it definitely was the first-runner-up.  Jenna's recipe is must if you're a fan of falafel, or just looking to try something new.  I'll certainly be cooking these up again.   

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