I adore these crisp, delicious mouthfuls and they are a regular entertaining dish in my home. The recipe is from Silvena Rowe’s cookbook Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume, a review of which is on my blog. I highly recommend you give these Falafel a try – they are seriously moreish and a real entertaining delight!
Crimson Beet Falafel
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
3 medium beets (14 ounces), scrubbed clean
Scant 1 cup milk
Scant 1 cup chickpea flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cooked chickpeas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
vegetable oil for deep frying
Heat I tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, cumin and allspice over medium heat for 3-4 minnutes. Set aside in a bowl
Cook beets in plenty of water until three-quarters cooked (roughly 20 minutes). Drain, cool and peel the beets. Grate coarsely on a box grater (I suggest you use rubber gloves to do this!).
In a medium nonstick pan, bring the milk to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Little by little, whisk in the chickpea flour until you have a smooth paste. Keep the mixture moving to avoid lumps. Season, then add the remaining olive oil and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Like cream puff dough, as the mixture heats, it will come away from the sides of the pan and shape into a ball.
Cool the ball of paste, then mix in the sautéed onions, chickpeas, lemon juice and grated beets. Using your hands. mold the mixture into golf-ball-sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 350ºF. Carefully place the falafel into the oil and cooked for 3-4 minutes, until tinged golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.
Serve with Greek-style yoghurt sprinkled with black sesame seeds.
(Photography by Jonathan Lovekin)