“Traditional falafel can sometimes be a little dry and mealy, so I decided to do something totally different here and use peas, because my husband loves peas. Seriously, he’ll eat a huge bowl of peas and call it dinner. My daughter loves them too! I also love this recipe because it’s vegetarian. Having one vegetarian dinner each week as a family can save about 16 buckets of water each year, so I love to come up with vegetarian meals that are so satisfying you don’t even miss the meat, and this one certainly fits the bill!” Aarti Sequeira, Host of 10 Minute Meals on OWNZONES and author of Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul.
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
- 1-cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup lightly packed finely chopped fresh mint leaves, plus 3/4-cup whole leaves
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
- 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed and drained (if don’t like edamame, substitute an extra cup of peas)
- 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Generous 1/4-cup chickpea flour (besan)
- Sunflower oil, for frying
- 2 large pita breads, halved to make pockets
- 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into large dice
- 1 large English cucumber, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
- In a small skillet, toast the fennel and coriander seeds over medium heat until they’re fragrant and slightly darker, about 2 minutes. Transfer the toasted seeds to a spice grinder. Grind to a fine powder. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the finely chopped mint leaves and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate.
- Throw the peas, edamame, ground toasted spices, shallot, garlic, whole mint leaves, olive oil, and salt to taste into a food processor. Whiz it up, pureeing until as smooth as possible. (It won’t get completely smooth because of the edamame.) Scrape the mixture into a big bowl and stir in the chickpea flour. The mixture will still be pretty soft. Not to worry!
- Pour enough oil into a large cast-iron skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Line a plate with paper towels and have it nearby.
- With wet hands, shape the pea mixture into 12 small patties, each the size of a golf ball, and then gently drop them into the hot oil. Fry until the bottoms are dark caramel brown, about 2 minutes, and then carefully flip them over. Brown the other side, and then remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve warm in a pita bread pocket stuffed with tomatoes and cucumber and a spoonful of the yogurt sauce.