Falafel and Tzatziki Pitta Kebabs

Serves: Two people

Cooktime: 30 – 45 minutes

You’ll need to soak chickpeas from the day before you need them

Falafel Ingredients

  • 450g dried chickpeas
  • One small onion
  • 15g parsley
  • 15g coriander
  • Six cloves of garlic
  • One and a half tablespoons plain flour
  • One tablespoon of cumin
  • Two teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • Tablespoon of black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Rapeseed oil (or another high smoking point, relatively plain tasting oil)

Tzatziki ingredients:

  • 300g natural yogurt (or Greek style will do)
  • One cucumber
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 30g of fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper

Other kebab ingredients:

  • Pitta breads (whatever size or variety you like)
  • Salad items of your choice
  • Spare herbs from making the falafel (optional)
  • Roased red peppers (optional)
  • The falafel and tzatziki just made

Roasted red peppers ingredients (optional):

  • Three red peppers
  • Oil (olive or rapeseed)
  • Salt and pepper

Scroll down, past the photos, for the recipe

Falafel mix method:

  • Place the chickpeas in a large mixing bowl and fill it to the top with water. Place a tea towel over the top of the bowl and put them aside to soak for between 16 and 24 hours – they will be a lot bigger in size after soaking
  • After they have soaked, drain the chickpeas into a sieve and rinse them. Then dry them using kitchen roll
  • In batches, put the chickpeas through a blender. It’s up to you what consistency you use, I usually blend them until they are smooth as I find they are easier to work with.
  • Place the blended chickpeas and flour in a mixing bowl
  • Run the onion, garlic, herbs and spices through the blender and then add to the chickpea mix
  • Mix all of the spices, flour and ground chickpeas until it is all fully incorporated
  • Cover the top of the bowl with cling film and put it in the fridge for one to two hours

While the falafel mix is in the fridge, use this time to make tzatziki and prepare your other chosen toppings.

Tzatziki method:

  • Finely chop the dill and place it in a mixing bowl with the yogurt and the lemon juice
  • Cut the ends of the cucumber off and grate all of it using a cheese grater – I recommend the coarser side you would use for cheddar cheese
  • Place the grated cucumber into muslin cloth (cheese cloth) and press all of the excess liquid out of it, then add it to the yogurt
  • Use salt and pepper to season it to taste
  • Place it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it

Scroll down, past the photos, for the recipe

Roasted red peppers method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C fan or Gas Mark 6
  • Slice the red peppers and place them in a baking tin
  • Cover them in oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Once the oven is hot enough, bake them for 15-20 minutes. They should be slightly charred around the edges and soft
  • Put aside until needed – they taste sweet from the natural sugars in the pepper

Cooking the falafel method:

When cooking the falafel, it’s up to you whether you use a deep fat fryer. As I don’t own one, I essentially shallow fry them using a big frying pan which is filled with a high smoke point, clear tasting oil – I use rapeseed, sunflower or vegetable oil – until it is deep enough to cover half to a third of the falafels.

  • Remove the falafel mix from the fridge and shape – either into small balls or into small oval bar like shapes (pictured) which I find are better for kebabs or pittas etc as they move around less than balls. The falafels are approximately three tablespoon scoops of the mix each in terms of size
  • Heat your oil on a medium to high heat
  • Set up a plate with sheets of kitchen roll, and some extra kitchen roll on the side
  • Put a test falafel in the oil – it should start frying instantly and going golden. If it browns then the oil is too hot. When the oil is hot enough, the falafel will start bubbling as soon as it makes contact with the oil
  • Fry the falafel – make sure you flip it so you can cook both sides. The whole falafel should be a light golden brown colour. Cook all of the falafel in batches of about six to twelve depending on the size of your pan and individual falafels. Each batch takes from four to six minutes (this can vary depending on the size of each falafel)
  • Remove the falafel from the pan, place it on the kitchen roll and pat dry. Keep an eye on the oil temperature – it may heat up for the last batch or so in which case you will have to turn it down

Toast your pitta breads and assemble the kebab – my favourite combination is the tzatziki and falafel with the roasted red peppers, sliced spring onion, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, grated carrot, additional parsley and coriander, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

If you are making for less people, you can reduce the recipe by half or, alternatively, the uncooked falafel mix can go in the freezer – just make sure you remove it from the freezer about ten to twelve hours before you want to use it to defrost it slowly.

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