When I studied in Jerusalem 11 years ago, I fell in love with falafels--the fast food of Israel. I enjoyed eating mine on fresh pita with cucumbers, tomatoes and a few french fries. I know that sounds weird but it is so good. I've never had a comparable falafel since in fact, even at "authentic" eateries run by natives. The picture included with this post is of "the Falafel Man". If I remember correctly he was located in Northern Israel--towards Haifa. He had the best falafels in Israel.
Since I was there during the summer, I find that I associate falafels with warm weather. Now that it is about that time here in Utah, it might be a good time to whip up this very authentic recipe (given to me upon request) by Nasser, the head chef at the Jerusalem Center in the mid-90's. Who knows...he could still be there for all I know! He certainly kept our tummies happy.
Falafels by Nasser
1 lb. garbanzo beans/ chick peas
1 oz. parsley
3 medium onions
5 cloves garlic
1 tB. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tB. cumin
Soak garbanzo beans/ chick peas for 24 hours. Drain. Grind them on the fine setting of a food processor. Grind them again, this time gradually adding parsley, onions and garlic. Grind one more time. Add salt, papper, cumin and baking soda. Mix all together and shape into balls. Deep fry.
Serve with pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, hot sauce mixed with chutney, french fries and/or eggplant.