Falafel Recipe

Twin Fritters: Falafel in Israel, Acarajé in Brazil

As a Jewish girl born and raised in Brazil, I can’t help but compare, cherish—and cook Falafel, one of the most iconic foods of Israel, to Acarajés, one of the most iconic foods of Brazil. They are first-degree cousins! Better yet, they are twins. Twin Fritters! Well, non-identical of course. One lives in Israel, one lives in Brazil.

Twin Fritters Falafel and Acaraje
A young Baiana frying Acarajés in there sweets of Bahia, Brazil.

 

Falafel is made with raw chickpeas; Acarajé is made with raw black-eyed beans.

They are both soaked in water for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator but never cooked. The beans will cook when they fry but not before then. In fact, if you cook the beans or use cooked canned beans—for both, the batter will simply melt away in the oil and you end up with a disaster. But don’t worry, once the beans are soaked and pureed in the food processor, they fry beautifully, and they hold quite well.

Twin Fritters

For both Falafel and Acarajé, the beans are pureed with raw onions.

In Brazil, we season the Acarajé with salt, pepper, cayenne, and a bit of paprika.

In Israel, we season the falafel with salt, jalapeno, cumin, and coriander—and fresh herbs, very important—giving that bright green color and fresh taste to the batter. Sesame seeds and garlic also go in the falafel mixture.

When seasoning, I encourage you to try lots of combinations and know that these little twin fitters can stand up to lots of hot seasoning.

In Israel, falafels are rolled and shaped into a walnut-size ball and stuffed in pita bread along with hummus, Israeli chopped salad, and Tzatziki sauce made with yogurt and/or sour cream and dill.

Acarajé looks like a big meatball and there is no bread around it. The acarajé is a vessel for the stuffing. When fried, the baianas split them in half with a serrated knife and ask what kind of filling you would like. The options are chopped salad, very similar to the Israeli chopped salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, although in Brazil you’ll see bell-pepper as well;

Vatapá (a mixture of fish, shrimp, peanuts, cashews, bread, coconut, and palm oil)

Vatapa Twin Fritters
Vatapá

 

or Caruru (made with okra, dried shrimps, coconut, cashews, and peanuts).

Caruru
Caruru

 

Falafel is fried in canola or vegetable oil. Acarajé is fried in palm oil (iconic foods), yielding that reddish-orange vibrant color on the fritter.

Acarajes
Acarajés frying in palm oil.

 

You can find the recipe for Acarajé in my cookbook The Brazilian Kitchen (e-mail me if you’d like more info).

To the Twin Fritters, Lechaim (in Hebrew) and Saúde (in Portuguese)!

 

This recipe for Falafel is adapted from Adeena Sussman’s cookbook Sababa.

You might also like other recipes from Sababa’s cookbook and other Israeli dishes on my website.

Eggplant and Tomato Galette

Short Ribs with  Eggplant, Silan and Nigela Seeds 

Tahini Caramel Tart

 

Falafel

Makes about 24 falafel balls

 

Ingredients:

2/3 cups dried chickpeas

1 cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

½ onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves

½ small jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Canola or Vegetable Oil for Frying

 

Prepare the Chickpeas: Place the chickpeas in a bowl, cover with 4 inches of water and soak in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, place them in the bowl of a food processor, and process until they’re pulverized into large crumb-like pieces, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the parsley and cilantro to the processor with the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and 2 tablespoons of water and pulse until a unified and bright green mixture is formed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary, 20 to 30 seconds (add an extra tablespoon of water if necessary).

In a small bowl, combine the salt, cumin, coriander, and sesame seeds. Just before frying the falafel, add the spices to the food processor and pulse until incorporated, 10-15 pulses.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until it reads 350˚F on a candy thermometer, or a small piece of white bread begins to sizzle and brown immediately when dropped into the oil.  Set a colander over a bowl or line a plate with paper towels. Using two spoons or a small ice cream scoop, shape the falafel into balls the size of small walnuts. Fry in batches, making sure not to over crowd the skillet or let the oil temperature drop below about 340˚F, until deep golden, 1-2 minutes but no more. Serve hot, seasoning with more salt if desired.

 

 

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Leticia

 

 

 

 

Ground Meat With Oloves, Tomatoes Pine Nuts

Ground Meat with Olives, Tomatoes & Pine Nuts

This recipe for Ground Meat with Olives, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts is a great new addition to your repertoire. Who doesn’t love meatloaf, hamburger or meatballs? Sauce Bolognese? Steak Tartare? We can keep going when it comes to ground meat, one of the most versatile cuts of beef, and the star of many classics from all over the world.

Stores don’t label where the ground meat comes from, but most ground beefs are a concoction of different cuts like chuck, eye round, sirloin, or brisket. Different amounts of fat are injected to add moisture to the meat. The leaner the ground meat, the dryer. Of course, for some recipes, that’s’ what you want; like for croquettes for example where you want to avoid fat inside the meat. For most other recipes like sauces, hamburgers, meatballs and meatloaf, you might want to choose ground beef with some amount of fat in it.

What you do find in stores is the indication of fat: regular, lean or super lean, varies between 10 to 15 to 20% of fat.

In terms of storage, ground meet has to be used within one day after buying since the meat will turn “gray “on the outside. If this happens, remove the gray part and use the remaining “pinkish” part. Technically speaking you can freeze ground meat. Personally, I don’t like to. I usually plan to buy my meat the day of, or the day before cooking.

This recipe is an easy one. It doesn’t have the iconic reputation of the previous classics mentioned above, but it’s a recipe to make over and over again. It’s ground beef cooked with spices and embellished with chopped garnishes. It takes very little time to prepare and once cooked, it’ll give you many meals. You can pair it with plain rice, or potatoes, or rice and beans, or crack a fried egg on top.

Imagination has no limits when it comes to ground beef.

 

Ground Meat with Olives, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

1 fresh bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lb ground meat

2 teaspoons sumac,

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons harissa paste

½ cup chicken or beef stock

7 tablespoons pine nuts

1 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

½ cup chopped parsley

 

Procedure: Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a medium bottomed frying pan for which you have a tight- fitting lid. Add the garlic and cook until it’s just starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes, then add the onion and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s soft, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the ground beef, season again with salt and pepper, and brown well, another 4 minutes. Add the sumac, cumin, harissa paste and chicken stock. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, until the meat is moist and tender. Before serving, add the pine nuts, tomatoes, olives and parsley. Mix well and enjoy!

 

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I’d love to know what you think about this article. Please send an e-mail.

You can find more about my work on ChefLeticia.com;

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook, I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook.

Visit my YouTube Chanel @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz

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Leticia

 

 

 

Rhubarb Soup

Chilled Rhubarb Soup

We often associate rhubarb with pie, tarts and crumbles recipes, but it was OMG at first sight when I saw this bunch at the farmer’s market and used it as an inspiration for this gleaming new recipe for Chilled Rhubarb Soup. Think Pink! Sweet and sour, it subtly glimmers for an occasion that blends easy elegance with a casual spirit.

Characterized by a unique tangy taste, each slurp of this soup celebrates your hand in the kitchen. The soup’s distinctive taste is created by slowly cooking rhubarb and some ginger in a sugary syrup. The result is one of the most gorgeous foods you’ll ever create. I’m not kidding! Look at the color of this soup! Rarely we see recipes as photogenic as this.

We are entering rhubarb peak season during the months of May, June and July.

Think Pink! Think Rhubarb!If any association with celery comes to mind, yes, look for crisp, refreshing stalks. You’ll see shades of green turning to shades of pink and it’s that passage of color in this unique vegetable that makes rhubarb so unique in taste and appearance.

When buying rhubarb, choose a bunch as you would celery. You’re looking for crispy stalks. I like to wrap the ends of the rhubarb in a wet paper towel and keep it well wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. It should last a good two weeks in the fridge.

This soup is so refreshing from the ground up! After many winter months, a new season feels like a miracle and rhubarb has the power to transform an entire menu, whether it’s creating a healthier neutral base or taking center stage as dessert. For a modern spin, garnish the soup with strawberries pistachios and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Every year I like to explore rhubarb in a variety of different recipes. You might like this recipe for Rhubarb Strawberry Pie here on the site and boy, oh boy, oh boy, this recipe is dreamy!

 

Chilled Rhubarb Soup

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Adapted from The Last Course by Claudia Fleming

Simple Syrup

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ¼ cup water

6 ½ cup sliced, trimmed rhubarb (about 2½ pounds untrimmed)

1 ½ ounces fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into 12 quarter size slices

For Garnish:

Serve with some quartered strawberries or raspberries in the soup.

Chopped pistachios

Green Yogurt

Procedure:

In a large saucepan over medium high-heat combine the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer gently for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.

Add the sliced rhubarb and ginger to the pan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to break down the rhubarb. Do not let the soup boil or the foam will turn bitter. Force the soup through a medium sieve discarding the solids. Pour the soup into a bowl and let it cool completely. Chill the coup until cold, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. To serve, scoop a small mound of Greek yogurt in the middle and ladle each into chilled bowls or soup plates and garnish with strawberries and pistachios.

 

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You can find more about my work on ChefLeticia.com;

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook, I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A cookbook.

Visit my YouTube Chanel @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz

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Facebook

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Leticia

 

 

 

Chicken Brodo

Chicken Brodo

From braising to roasting, grilling, sautéing, or poaching, chicken is so universal and I just can get tired of it. In my house, we eat at least once a week, and I make chicken stock and chicken brodo from the bones every time a chicken is served. I have adapted this recipe to this situation- carcass from a chicken that was dinner.

I suggest creating a habit: every time you cook a chicken for dinner, don’t toss the bones out. Not even the bones that were in your husband’s or children’s plate. Make chicken brodo! Even a very small amount of bones, from 1 little bird, will yield about 2 cups of bordo. And with that small amount, it only takes 30 minutes to make brodo. Bird by bird, my freezer is stocked with chicken brodo.

And what is the difference between chicken stock and chicken brodo, you might ask? There is a very fine line between the two. Chicken brodo is chicken stock that has been seasoned and simmered longer than chicken stock. Chicken stock is used for cooking, brodo is used for drinking, like tea. But can you cook with chicken brodo? You can, just remember the brodo is already seasoned.

 

Chicken Brodo

Makes 3 to 4 cups

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 pounds of chicken bones from a rotisserie chicken

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks

1 stalk of celery, cut into chunks

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 to 3 bay leaves

Kosher Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

 

  1. Remove excess fat from the bones. In a large stockpot, add the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bones, vegetables, and bay leaves. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until bones are hot and vegetables are cooked about 20 minutes. Add enough cold water to cover the bones, about 1 inch above the amount of bones. Don’t add too much water, or the brodo will be watery and lacking flavor. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 30 to 45 minutes, skimming the foam occasionally.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the liquid. When the brodo has a rich, bright chicken flavor, remove the bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon and strain the stock, first through a medium strainer then through a fine-mesh strainer.
  3. Place the brodo over an ice bath then chill in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours – chilled is the best way to judge the quality of the liquid. The more gelatinous, the better. Carefully remove any fat that accumulates on the top and discard it. Divide the brodo into several small plastic containers, label them, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

 

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Superbowl Snacks

Hearts of Palm & Spinach Dip

Super Bowl Sunday! The biggest sports day of the year is here! You can’t watch the game without some delicious snacks. Before the pandemic, I used to host sports parties in my house when my son would bring a bunch of friends home to sit and scream in front of a TV. Growing boys would show up hungry and I needed to feed them.

Now with Covid, it’s just our family, but I still like to prepare foods like chicken wings and dips. Especially this dip. A cousin of the Artichoke-Spinach, this Hearts of Palm & Spinach Dip is the perfect venue and it’s approved by many American boys. You can make it ahead of time and simply stick it in the oven during game time. Serve with whole wheat pita chips or any other chip of your preference. You can find this recipe and many others in my cookbook Latin Superfoods.

Hearts of Palm Spinach Dip

 

Hearts of Palm & Spinach Dip

Serves 6 people

 

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm, drained, rinsed, and pat dry

One 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and excess liquid drained

½ cup light sour cream

1 cup light mayonnaise

½ cup light cream cheese

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Equipment: one 7  X 11-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray

  • In a medium skillet warm the olive oil and cook the garlic until it just starts to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, season with salt, pepper, freshly ground nutmeg and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally for another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.
  • Combine the hearts of palm, spinach, sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, Parmesan, and the onion mixture in the bowl of a food processor and buzz until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous. Season again with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture into the baking dish. At this point, you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days ahead of time.
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with pita, crackers, or tortillas.

 

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Jeweled Rice With Carrots

Jeweled Rice with Carrots

This recipe for Jeweled Rice With Carrots, featured on my cookbook Latin Superfoods, is inspired by my aunt Sarita’s. She is a Jewish immigrant originally from Morroco who came to Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s and adapted into the new tropical land, while keeping her roots and faith intact. She prepares a variety of jeweled rice dishes. The carrots add a natural sweetness to the rice and makes it the perfect side dish for a healthy meal. At home, this recipe for Jeweled Rice with Carrots is pure dinner treasure. You can assemble ahead of time in a big platter, and pass it around the table. I’m telling you, it will get devoured!

You can also see a video of this recipe on my YouTube channel. And don’t forget to subscribe!

 

Jeweled Rice with Carrots

Serves 6 or 8

 

2 cups brown basmati rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

Half an onion, finely diced

2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

2 cups grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots, grated on the smallest whole)

Pinch safron thread

3 1/3 cups water

½ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

½ cup chopped pitted Picholine olives

¼ cup chopped parsley

 

Prepare the Rice:

  • Rinse the rice in cold water several times to remove the excess starch. On the final wash, drain the rice on a colander and let it sit for 5 minutes to dry.
  • On a medium saucepen over low heat, add the olive oil and cook the onions until they are soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice, salt, carrots, and safron and mix them with a wooden spoon until the grains are coated with oil and warm.
  • Pour in the cold water, cover partway, and cook the rice over medium heat until it’s soft and tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice and stir in the almonds, olives and parsley. Transfer to a bowl and serve hot.

 

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Pork Ramen Noddle

Pork Ramen Noddle

This is how I layer my Pork Ramen Noddle: I make the pork, mushrooms and broth separately. And then, it’s the layers of ingredients that make all the difference.

You can also watch a video of me and my daughter, Bianca, making this dish on You Tube.

 

Pork Ramen Noddle

Serves 4

 

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 shallot, finely minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound pre-cooked pulled pork

1 onion, sliced

1 pound ramen noodles, cooked

2 scallions, white and green parts, cut ion the bias

2 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half

6 cups reduced sodium beef broth

2 radishes, cut into thin stripes

2 baby cucumbers, sliced

1 cup cilantro leaves (not chopped)

 

  • Prepare the mushrooms: heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan on high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, without stirring until it starts to release its oil, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything and cook until mushrooms are soft and tender, about 5 minutes all together. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Prepare the Pork: using the same pan as the mushrooms, heat the remaining olive oil and add the sliced onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until it soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pulled pork and break it up in pieces, making sure pork is completely broken up into thin threads. Cook, stirring frequently until pork is completely flavored. Add about ¼ cup water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat the beef broth and make sure it’s well seasoned.
  • To assemble the Ramen Soup, place some cooked noodles, about ¼ cup pulled pork and some mushrooms in a bowl. Ladle the broth on top, and garnish with the scallions, cucumbers, radish, eggs and cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

 

I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

If you like what you read, tell your friends about it,

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See you next time!

Leticia

 

 

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