I am never sure that one should call a falafel a falafel when it does not contain chickpeas or the traditional fava bean as its main ingredient. However for now I subscribe to the ‘yes you can’ as to find a suitable alternative name is not an easy task: ball, nuggets, a rissole perhaps? The latter a word favoured by my Dad and used in lieu of idiot, so thus this does not sit too well for me.
The debate can rage on, however for now falafel it is and sweet potato they are, I should mention that chickpea flour is an ingredient though still……Move on Tina, move on. Sooooooo I started making these for my stall at Churchill square to have as part of a mezze lunch box and a smaller snack bag sitting alongside a sumac flat bread, hummus and beetroot tzatziki. When cooking for outdoor events I give a lot of consideration to dishes that work well served cold; traditional falafels are just so much better hot from the fryer, the mixture tends to seize as it cools becoming dry and moisture sucking! These sweet potato numbers work great cold though I have since served them hot as a vegetarian alternative for my supper club guests. They are delicious, full of flavour and as long as you start in advance are so easy to make.
The original recipe came from one of the Leon cook books. This London based company started in 2004 by Allegra McEvedy has steadily grown over the past few years, taking fast food and throwing it upside down. Their offerings are seasonal, healthy and mostly delicious, preferring baked to fried, almonds to flour and using lots of fresh fruit and veg. http://www.leonrestaurants.co.uk/vision/
My main thing to mention before I start sharing this recipe is that the water content of the sweet potatoes will vary enormously so you will need to be flexible with the amount of chickpea flour you use. However don’t be tempted to add too much, especially if you plan to eat them cold as they will turn out too solid. Be brave, keep them soft. Please note that my photos show me making a larger batch
So to make about 18 Sweet potato falafels:
2 large sweet potatoes (700g ish) –Baked in their skins @ 200ᵒ for about 45 min or until tender
120g gram chickpea flour – (garam flour)
2tsp of each coriander seed and cumin seed – toasted and crushed
3 cloves of garlic – crushed
Juice of half lemon
½ teaspoon of each salt and chilli flakes
Large bunch fresh coriander – chopped
The potatoes MUST be totally cold before you start. I suggest baking them the day before.
Peel and mash the flesh along with all the other ingredients. Put in the fridge to firm up for about an hour. Once chilled you are wanting to end up with a not too stick mass that is kind of ball-able. If you find you don’t have this then stir in more chickpea flour a little at a time and pop back into the fridge for another 15 minutes.
Once you are happy that you can roll them, do exactly that dividing the mixture into large walnut sized pieces and sprinkling them with sesame seeds to coat. Place on a well sunflower or olive oiled baking tray and bake for 10 minutes @ 200ᵒ then turn and bake for a further 5 minutes.
That is it! As mentioned these make for fantastic picnic feed, are great in pitta with all the salady bits, good hot with rice and a spicy chickpea and tomato sauce….versatile little erm rissoles.