Hayden Quinn’s Falafel Pockets

Hayden Quinn’s Falafel Pockets

By 19 November, 2013

For Hayden Quinn, Cleo's 2012 Bachelor of the Year, 2011 Masterchef  finalist and professional lifeguard, food is all about evoking different feelings, summer memories and creating nostalgia.  In his new book Dish It Up (Murdoch Books $35, in stores December 1st), his beach-living-inspired recipes (such as Asian crab salad with betel leaves, Baked Spanish eggs with jamon and Caribbean jerk chicken) are packed with punchy flavours from around the globe.
 "This dish is an assault on the senses and I love it! If you don’t get the wrapping part done well, things can get a little messy, but that’s the fun of it. Enjoy this vegetarian treat with your non-meat-loving (and meat-loving) friends," says Hayden.



To make the Falafel: Place the chickpeas, black and white sesame, garlic, shallots, ground coriander and cumin seeds, cayenne pepper, salt, parsley, lemon juice and egg into a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are coarsely chopped but not puréed.
Depending on the wetness of the mixture, add in the baking powder and flour little by little until the mixture starts to clump together but is not sticky (you may not need to use all the flour). The mix needs to be workable. Using your hands, shape 1 heaped tablespoon of the mixture into a ball or patty, placing on a lined tray and repeating until all the mixture has been used. Then put the tray into the fridge to chill the falafels for 30–60 minutes.
For the Yoghurt Tahini Sauce: while the falafels are chilling, make the yoghurt and tahini sauce by combining the yoghurt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Adjust to taste with extra lemon juice and salt if needed. Sprinkle the sauce with smoked paprika.
Shallow-fry the falafels in a large non-stick frying pan over medium– high heat, cooking them in batches and turning occasionally, for 3–5 minutes or until crisp. Place them on an oven tray and put into a warm oven as they cook to keep warm and ready to serve.
To serve: combine the parsley, mint, coriander, tomatoes, shallots, olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt to taste in a small bowl.
Place 3 or 4 falafels inside the pitta breads, with salad, a good drizzle of yoghurt tahini sauce and a small spoon of harissa (see note).
Notes: As an alternative to tinned chickpeas, you can use dried chickpeas, just cover with water and allow to soak for 24 hours before use.
~ You may not need to use all the flour in the recipe. Or if the mix is very wet, you may have to use more. As a gluten-free alternative you could also use besan (chickpea flour).
~ Harissa is a North African spice paste or chutney that can be bought from large chain supermarkets and most speciality delis. Beware, this sauce can be super hot!

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