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Where EAST meets the Northwest

 

From The Asian Reporter, V19, #49 (December 15, 2009), page 14.

Thai red curry paste adds spark to falafel

By J.M. Hirsch
AP Food Editor

Thai red curry paste, a spicy staple of many Thai recipes, lends gentle oomph to this rethinking of falafel (fritters made from chopped chickpeas and herbs). Jars of curry paste can be found at ethnic food markets and many large grocers.

These Middle Eastern fritters are traditionally served with a yogurt sauce, which cuts some of the heat. This version uses thick slices of avocado instead. The fat in the avocado plays the same cooling role as the yogurt.

A food processor makes easy work of the recipe, but be careful not to over-process the chickpeas. Process for too long and youíll end up with hummus (though it probably will be delicious).

And donít be intimidated by the spicy factor. The "heatíí of Thai red curry paste is more akin to a vinegary bite than to a hot pepper burn.

Red Curry Falafel

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 slices bread (about 4 ounces)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 flatbreads, warmed
  • Smoked paprika, to garnish
  • 1 avocado, pitted, skinned, and cut into slices
  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the red curry paste, cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, pepper, bread, and lemon zest. Pulse until the bread is chopped to mostly fine crumbs. Add the chickpeas and pulse until the chickpeas are well chopped.

Form the mixture into nine patties, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture for each.

In a large skillet over medium, heat one tablespoon of the canola oil. Fry half of the patties until the bottoms are lightly browned, about one to two minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the falafel and brown on the other sides, about another one to two minutes.

Transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining ingredients. To serve, arrange three falafel on each flatbread. Sprinkle with paprika, then top with avocado and tomato wedges.