Egyptian Falafel

by Maryam on November 8, 2009

falafel

Last December my trip had a very special taste. Just like falafel, a lot of vegetarian combination which give you at the end a taste you will never forget. And that is exactly what happened with me. Since I was studying in engineering school, I dreamed about visiting Canada. Very sweet dream. Every day when I go to bed I imagine myself in the middle of the falling snow, jumping with joy and excitement; at the end it just a dream. The characters, places, feelings and even smells are illusions; the moment you open your eyes everything vanish. But what made me enjoy this dream that my feelings “my heart” told me that I’ll visit this place in the future. When, how, with whom, for what purpose I didn’t know. All what I knew that I will go there one day.

canada

After finishing the engineering school, applying for a job and spend one year in the company which I’m working for right now. I received an invitation letter from INVENSYS Canada, to attend a training course there. I didn’t know that my name was nominated to attend a related course to our new system. All what I thought about at that moment was … is my dream coming true ?

I applied for the Canadian VISA before one month of the training date. The procedure was to send the passport with a courier “express mail” to Sharjah, UAE. Since there is no Canadian embassy in Kuwait. So I followed the instructions step by step as mentioned in the embassy website. Note that it was mentioned that normally issuing VISA may take between 5days to two weeks maximum. So that’s mean I’ll have extra two weeks to prepare and arrange for the trip of my life.

The application was sent with the passport and the fees were paid, simply everything was going smooth so far. I waited for five days .. nothing, no news. I told myself it’s okay there is still plenty of time, regarding to the website! I waited for another ten days, the two weeks are finished … no answer, I called the courier to ask about my mail. The answer was ” we didn’t receive anything from the embassy” so I asked them to verify from the embassy. There answer was “we can’t do that because it is not allowed for us to contact them and inquire any kind of information for any passport”.

garlic clove

When I found that contacting the courier is useless. I decided to contact the embassy, so I sent an e-mail and the answer was “sometimes the procedures my take longer time than usual, so I should wait for another 10 days”. It was clear from their answer that they didn’t even check the status of my application. Fifteen days gone plus ten days that means the remaining is five days to the day of my departure. What I’m gonna do ? My sweet dream is vanishing again and I don’t have a solution. My heart told me again that I’m going to Canada. But how, the situation is so complicated to the point that I couldn’t imagine that I’ll ever go.

An idea came to me five days before the departure. I’ll fly to UAE, Sharja using my Civil ID ” for traveling within the GCC it is allowed to use civil ids” and get the passport from the embassy. Note that even after the 10 days are gone I didn’t receive an answer from the embassy. I tried to call but the operator told me that it is not allowed to speak to anyone in the immigration section.

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I booked a direct flight to Shariah ” going and coming back in the same day”, before two days of my flight to Canada. 24 hours before departing, I received an e-mail form the Canadian embassy, saying that the passport is ready to be collected a long time ago, but there was a problem with the courier regarding payments issues. And to solve the problem I should contact the courier and pay them in advance. The funny thing that I have paid in advance since the beginning. When I called the courier they told me that they are sorry for that mess and the passport will be delivered to me after three days .. after three days !! I should be “checking in” to Canada after two days otherwise I could not attend the course. which means NO CANADA.

peeled beans

So I decided to collect the passport by myself. Even though the e-mail didn’t mention that if the VISA was issued for me or not. Finally I took the flight to Sharjah, go to the embassy, and collect the passport. Even collecting the passport wasn’t easy. The receptionist advised me to Waite till 11 am o’clock “passport collecting time” and I was there since 8 am. So I waited .. then when the immigration representative called for collecting passports, I jumped and showed him a copy of the embassy e-mail .. what happened that he told me that the courier should collect the passport not me, but after explaining the whole situation and that my departure is tomorrow, he accepted to handle me the passport. Till that time I didn’t know if the VISA was issued to me or not.

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The moment I received my passport back, quickly open it and check for the VISA .. it was there !! shining with glory .. I couldn’t believe it, after all what I gone through this month .. I’m going to Canada .. When your heart tells you something believe it.

When I went to Canada I noticed something. In every mall and in every food court there is falafel corner .. it was interesting that falafel is very well know in North America and Europe.

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This recipe was adapted from my mother

For fast serving you can make the paste and freeze it. It will take you 10 minutes “frying time” before serving. Keep in mind that the paste will take some time to melt before frying. So it is recommended to take it out of the freezer before 1 hour.

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Ingredients

1 lb dry fava beans peeled

1 medium garlic Cloves peeled and chopped

1 bunch Coriander chopped

1 bunch Leek chopped

1 bunch Green onions chopped

1bunch Dill chopped

1 teaspoon dry Coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups Oil (depends on the size of your frying pan)

Bread crumbs or 1 egg (not essential)

process

Making the paste

For the dry beans, wash and soak in warm water for 12 hours. If you are using frozen non-peeled beans wash and boil for 10 minutes to peel it easily. Notice that for the frozen beans the paste will be more softer than the dry ones. So you will need to add an egg or some bread crumbs (chose one) at the end of paste making. If you are using the dry beans ignore this step.

Drain the beans, and make sure to exsiccate, remove any remaining water droplets using paper towel. The more water the more softer the paste will be which you don’t want ! Another tip for the Green onions, dill, coriander, garlic and leek. Wash for several times to remove all sand particles hanged between the leaves. After each wash soak in water for 5 to 10 minutes then wash again. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Before placing the Green onions, dill, coriander, garlic and leek in the food processor, chop in small pieces and mix all. Then Place them and the beans in the food processor and chop fine. Keep chopping till the whole ingredients mixed and form a green thick paste. In a big bowl place the paste and add the 4 teaspoons mentioned above (salt, pepper, cumin, baking soda and the dry coriander). Mix all the ingredients with big wooden spoon. Let the paste stand for 5 to 10 minutes. As mentioned before, if you feel that the paste is too soft, stir an egg and add it to the paste. Otherwise, add some bread crumbs to the paste. Use your both hands to form small to medium sized balls.

Fry the falafel

Pour the oil in a deep frying pan. Using medium heat let the oil heat. Before start frying ensure that the oil is very hot (about 200oF). To test, put one falafel ball into the hot oil. It should start to bubble directly (if it didn’t that means the oil is not hot enough). When the oil is hot enough to fry the falafel balls, start to put 4 to 6 pieces per set (depends on how big is your frying pan). Don’t put a lot of pieces per set that will make them stick together which you don’t want. Fry each set for 30 seconds or till the color changes to greenish brown. Then using a strainer drain the oil and place the fried falafel on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. Repeat the process for each set, and untill you finish the whole amount. After every two to three sets try to clean the oil by passing the strainer to remove the burned solids.

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After finishing serve directly with plenty of options which will be mentions, which will be mentioned in the future.

deep fry

enjoy with love,

Maryam