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;

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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.

 

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

Make sure to share this story with someone who cares about this topic.

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

The easiest and most impactful thing you can to support is subscribe to my newsletter and to my channel on YouTube. And of course, tell your friends about it.

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Facebook

See you next time,

Leticia

 

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

If you’re looking for Olympian baking, this Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart is! For those of us crazy for the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, this is the apex in a tart format.

There are 3 components to this tart: the cookie crust, the peanut mousse and the chocolate ganache.  Don’t fret. It really doesn’t take that long, and the entire tart can be prepared and assembled up to 5 days ahead of time and you’re all set.

This recipe is adapted from one of the most respected bakers in the U.S, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and it’s her attention to details that make this recipe work so well. I love how she mixes a bit of milk and bittersweet chocolate in the ganache. However, if you’d like to incline one way or the other, feel free to use just milk, or just semisweet.

Respect the ingredients – this recipe can handle season patterns from misty rain to artic blast to summer vibes. Remember, because we care about the ingredients, we also care about temperature. When baking, make sure to bring all ingredients to room temperature before starting.

Bake with love! This recipe is guaranteed to take you to paradise. And dream of Para-para-paradise! Para-para-paradise!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Pie and Pastry Bible, Scribner 1998

Makes one 9-inch tart, serving 8 to 10 people

 

For the Peanut Butter Mousse

7 tablespoons cream cheese at room temperature

½ cup peanut butter (smooth)

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup heavy cream, softly whipped

 

For the Chocolate Ganache

3 ounces milk chocolate

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1/3 cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For the Sweet Peanut Butter Cookie Tart Crust

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

½ cup smooth peanut butter, preferably Jif at room temperature

½ large egg (beat the egg lightly before measuring out half of it)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Equipment: 9-inch tart fluted pan

Prepare the Cookie Tart Crust:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, process the sugars for a few seconds until very fine. With the motor running, add the butter cubes. Add the peanut butter and process until smooth and creamy, about 10 seconds. With the motor running, add the egg and vanilla and process until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse just until combined. (you can also use an electric mixer if you don’t have a food processor).
  • Scrape the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Press the dough evenly into the tart pan. You can use a piece of plastic wrap to do this and invert onto the tart pan and then press against the sides. If the dough softens and sticks, refrigerate it until the plastic wrap doesn’t stick. If the dough tears, simply press it together or use the scraps to press into any empty areas. Cover the tart pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Bake the tart shell, without weights in a preheated 350˚F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. It will puff at first and then settle down at the end of the baking. The sides will be soft but spring back when touched gently with a finger. Cool on a wire rack.

 Prepare the Peanut Butter Mousse:

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, preferably fit with the whisk beater, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar just until the mixture is uniform in color. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla. Beat in ¼ cup of the whipped cream just until it is incorporated. With a large rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the whipped cream, mixing until the mixture is well blended but still airy.
  • Scrape the mousse into the sweet peanut butter cookie tart crust and smooth the surface so that it is level. Refrigerate the tart while preparing the ganache.

Make the Chocolate Ganache:

  • Chop the milk and bittersweet chocolates with a serrated knife very finely and place it a glass or stainless-steel bowl.
  • Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute allowing the heat to melt the chocolate. Whisk slowly from the center out until homogeneous and then a bit more vigorously, making sure the ganache is completely smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk again. Cool to temperature before glazing the tart.

Assemble the Tart:

  • Pour the ganache over the peanut butter mousse in a circular motion, being careful so that it does not land too heavily in any one spot and cause a depression in the mousse. Using a small metal spatula, start to spread the ganache to the edges of the pastry, then spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of the tart. Refrigerate the tart for at least 2 hours to set or up to 5 days.
  • Remove the tart from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving. Unmold the tart and cut it with a sharp thin bladed knife, dipping in hot water after each cut to make a clean cut.

 

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Tahini Caramel Tart

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Chocolate Custard Pie

 

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

Make sure to share this story with someone who cares about this topic.

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

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

The easiest and most impactful thing you can to support is subscribe to my newsletter and to my channel on YouTube. And of course, tell your friends about it.

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See you next time,

Leticia

 

 

 

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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Leticia

 

 

 

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