Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Falafel with Yogurt Sauce

It feels like it's been way too long since I posted a new recipe and I'm dearly, truly, sorry for that. But I have here a really awesome recipe that's sure to make up for my lack of time spent on the blog. These little falafels are so tasty, easy to make, and super healthy.
I'm a huge falafel fan. Like I love them. But I don't love the fact that they're normally deep fried. Now, I've made traditional falafels before in a skillet and they were wonderful. But these are a healthier and more creative version that were such a success. Granted, if you're looking for that crispy bite that fried falafels are known for, you won't find it here. But that's where the toasted sesame seeds on top come in. They give a nice texture that's just perfect. And roasting the sweet potatoes beforehand until they're deeply caramelized and soft gives a nice depth of sweetness. The cumin, coriander, garlic and lots of fresh cilantro flavor the sweet potato really well.
But I'm not even finished! These wouldn't be complete without the yogurt sauce, which really is a must for this dish. It's so cool and refreshing and I seriously just want to eat it by the spoonful. Serve everything with warm whole grain pita bread and a big green salad and it's the perfect meal, if you ask me.

Sweet Potato Falafel (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), around 700g or 1 1/2 pounds in total
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup chickpea flour
a sprinkling of sesame seeds (I used black sesame seeds)
sea salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender - 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel.

2. Put the sweet peeled potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well with salt and pepper (I added a little more than a teaspoon of salt), and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies enormously).

3. Reheat the oven to 400F degrees. Using a couple of soup spoons (put a well-heaped spoonful of mix in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides) or a falafel scoop if you have one, make the mixture into falafelly looking things and put them on a parchement-lined tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Cucumber Dill Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (I used a little more because I like dill a lot)
1 small cucumber (or half of a large cucumber) finely diced
Juice of half a lemon
sea salt and pepper to taste

While the falafels are baking, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl. Serve alongside the falafel. The sauce keeps well and I have used it as a salad dressing with a bit of olive oil added to it. Yum.



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