|Population||9,450,620 (99th largest)|
|Land mass||20,770 – 22,072 km2 (150th largest)|
|Languages||Hebrew (recognised), Arabic|
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Israel is a Western Asian country on the shore of the Mediterranean and Red Sea. Tel Aviv is Israel’s economic and technological centre but Jerusalem is recognised by the State of Israel as its official capital. However, as we know, this claim is a controversial one. Israel is in fact the site of the earliest hominid migrations out of Africa during the Middle Bronze Age. Israel defines itself as the nation-state of Jewish people and operates as a Jewish and democratic state. It currently has the highest standard of living of all Middle Eastern countries and ranks very highly on several measures of progressivism.
Israeli cuisine is heavily influenced by Jewish traditional cooking, as well as influences from Israeli diaspora. Mwara made the ultimate Israeli food – FALAFEL! The word falafel, which comes from the word for pepper (pilpel) can traditionally be made in one of two ways: with fava beans or chickpeas or a combination of both. However, favism – an inherited enzymatic deficiency occurring among some Israeli Jews in the 1950s – resulted in Israeli falafel becoming predominantly produced from chickpeas. It is not a secret that we love falafel, and we hope that you will too. Ideally serve these Israeli falafel fresh and stuffed in a pitta bread drizzled with tahini sauce.
Falafel (more falafel…!)
- 1 cup dried chickpeas (2 x 400g cans)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 4 – 6 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 large chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chilli
- 1 tsp salt
- veg oil (for frying)
- GARNISH: chopped onions, tomatoes, lettuce, pepper, tahini + lemon
- If you are using dried chickpeas, please soak the chickpeas in a large bowl in cold water over night and then drain. Alternatively, use canned drained chickpeas.
- Place the chickpeas, garlic and onions in the bowl of a food processor and blitz. Then add the parsley, coriander, salt, chilli, and cumin. Process until the mix is coarsely blended.
- Turn the mixture out into a large bowl and sprinkle over the baking powder and flour, and mix this well. You have to add enough flour so that the dough can form a small ball without sticking in your hands. Refrigerate this for a wee while, if you can, as it makes the falafel balls easier to roll.
- To prepare the actual falafel, use your hands or a spoon to form balls of falafel about the size of golf balls.
- Now you can choose to fry the falafel in 3 inches of heated oil for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Or you can bake the falafel for 25-30 minutes on a well-oiled baking tray at 180 C, turning the balls half way through cooking to brown each side.
- To serve, stuff a pitta with 3 falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper and whatever else you want! Then drizzle over a load of tahini + lemon dressing and dig in!
Toda and see you in Italy! M + B x