2 cups dried fava beans* (aka broad beans)
1 small onion
8 green onions
2 garlic cloves
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2½ tablespoons fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
4 cups vegetable oil (Enough to cover falafel patties)
* = Look in Middle Eastern supermarkets, supermarkets selling mostly organic food, or online. Also see if you can get these dried beans with the skins already removed. If you can only find canned fava beans, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using.)
large no-stick pan
Serves 6. Takes overnight for soaking plus 30 minutes.
Add fava beans to large pot. Cover with water. Cover with lid and let soak overnight.
Rinse fava beans. Rub skins off beans. Add onion, green onion, garlic, baking powder, coriander, cumin, salt, fresh cilantro, and fresh parsley to food processor. Blend until everything is blended and minced. Add beans, Blend only until beans form a paste. (If the beans are blended more, your falafel might fall apart later.) Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Shape bean paste in 1″ balls. Flatten balls until they are ½” thick patties. Add oil, enough to cover patties, to large no-stick pan. Heat oil at high heat until bubbles form on the bottom. Carefully add falafel patties to pan. Don’t let them touch each other. (You will need to cook in batches.) Fry patties until golden brown. (This happens quickly.) Remove patties and drain on paper towels. Goes quite well with warm pita bread, hummus, and tomato salad.
1) This dish is an appetizer. Culinary cryptographers will tell you that “appetizer” comes from an anagram for “Zap Peter I.”
2) And culinary linguists know that “zap” comes from the Russian “zapkya.” This word means to assassinate, kill, plot against, and otherwise dethrone and overthrow by means of feeding appetizers to the hated tsar.”
3) So, zap Peter I means to overthrow Peter I, perhaps even kill. Tsar Peter I was not completely enamored of this concept. Particularly so when the streltsky, Russian musketeers, engineered coups against him by serving appetizers to the palace guard. “Have some appetizers,” they said to the guards, “They’re quite tasty.” And they were. So much so that the entire guard ate and ate until they all had to take lengthy naps.
4) While the palace guard napped, the musketeers rounded up Peter’s supporters and imprisoned them. The streltsky would then enthrone in a figurehead, one who could be counted on the double the daily vodka ration.
5) Doubling the vodka ration made the musketeers drunk and pass out. Peter then reclaimed power while the streltsky lolled around in drunken stupors. Eventually, the musketeers sobered up and fed appetizers to the palace guards again.
6) And so it went, appetizers put the musketeers’ figurehead in power again. Drunken binges enabled Peter I to get back in control.
7) Then on April 1, 1698, Peter I experienced a brainstorm. Why not try giving the musketeers rivers of vodka AND appetizers? The idea worked. The besotted musketeers became so logy from eating platter after platter of appetizers, they slept themselves into oblivion.
8) Peter I, tsar of all the Russias, took advantage of the streltsky’s lasting inertia to tie them up. When they came to, they found themselves on a giant iceberg in the Arctic Ocean. The musketeers had enough food to last 30 days, along with hundreds of ping pong battles and ping pong balls. Tsar Peter had thoughtfully provided them also with enough pencils and entry forms to the First Winter Ping Pong Arctic Ocean Tournament.
9) Culinary historians doubt that the musketeers ever finished the tournament. The strong winter gales prevalent would have simply blown one ping pong ball after another into oblivion. At any rate, the marooned men would have found hitting remaining white ping pong balls quite difficult in the ever present white blizzards.
10) But the constant appetizer-fed revolts burned a lesson into Tsar Peter I’s brain. Never let any Russian eat appetizers. In 1699, he ordered the destruction of all the restaurants making appetizers.
No one would ever “Zap Peter I.”
11) But in 1917, Tsar Nicholas II foolishly permitted the making of appetizers. Lenin and Trotsky fed appetizers to the palace guard who fell asleep. The communists seized power. We are still living with the consequences of the Russian Revolution. Now you know why.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.