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Archive for April, 2010

I know how much the post on tortilla in Spain attracted all of you, I mean, who doesn’t love reading about travelling and food? So I thought about adding another recipe to a dish I loved to eat while travelling through the south of Spain and into Morocco. Felafel is a staple if you’re travelling in the Middle East and Norther Africa, especially if you’re vegetarian like me. If you’ve never tasted the glory that is felafel, it’s a ball of fried ball of chickpeas or fava beans and some herbs and spices. These balls are put into a pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickled vegetables and drizzled in tahini (or my favourite, tzaziki). You can also eat felafal with a meze or just on its own as a snack.

I can’t talk about a food without a little bit of history… Felafel originated in Egypt and some believe it was eaten initially by the Copts to replace meat while Lent was going on. When the dish migrated to Levant, the fava beans were replaced by chick peas. Now its a staple in street food and fast food in the Middle East… did you know that you can even find it at McDonalds in some countries?? “One McFelafel, please!” I can just imagine.

What you’ll need:

  • a blender or food processor
  • 2 bowls
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 tray
  • 1 slotted spoon
  • 1 sauce pan
  • paper towels or napkins

Ingredients:

  • 250 g chick peas, pre-cooked or cook them beforehand
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 chili, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt & pepper

1. Put the chickpeas into the blender and pulse it a few times and then on full to make a bread-crumb like texture. Transfer it into a bowl. Then purée these ingredients: parsley, coriander, chili, and 2 spoons of the chick pea mix. Mix until well combined.

2. Mix the two together then add the flour, cumin, crushed coriander seeds, baking soada and 1 1/2 tbsp of salt (approx). Add finally a bit of pepper and combine at all with a spoon. If it’s too dry, add a little water.

3. Preheat the oil in the pan. Then form balls out of the mixture and drop them in whe the oil is hot enough to fry. With this size batch, you should be able to make around 25 felafel balls. Fry in batches for 2 minutes until they are golden brown and then place on a tray with kitchen towels to absorb the oil. Once all of them are done, you’re ready to build your pita.

Take a look at this video for the step-by-step:

Middle Eastern:
How To Make Falafel

Let me know if you try the recipe and how it turned out! I’d love to hear about your gastronomy travellers too, what are your staples while on the road? In Spain I can recommend Granada for Moroccan food, it’s very cheap and super delicious, including Felafel. As for Morocco, you’ll find great food just about anywhere!

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Delhi street (sxc)

Delhi is a city for the senses, all of them. It can be overwhelming and exciting, new flavours and new sights, everything is unfamiliar and even what seems familiar also seems to be completely Indian. The streets are loud and fragrant, spices filling the streets all day long from little restaurants and street-level houses. The women pass wearing scarves of every colour of the rainbow, embroidered with silver and gold threads, little gems and beads.

This city can have an overpowering effect on travellers that have just arrived. Take it easy, take it slow. Get to know this city one district at a time. The main streets are overcrowded with donkeys, carts, cars, bicycles, rickshaws and people. Duck into a side street and you’ll be surprised at the gorgeous and glittering monuments you’ll find off the beaten tourist path. I’ve always dreamed of India, travelling through the countryside and cities picking up phrases of Hindi and Punjabi, getting by with English. It’s an extremely romantic idea I guess but there is something so intriguing about this land of spices and culture that has attracted Western travellers since the 1950s. All of the great world explorers went to India, visiting the East and coming home with stories that were more exciting than the ones in books.

Maybe one of the most attracting things about travelling to India right now are the cheap flights to Delhi. It is a great place to start a trip to India from. Delhi is a city of division, like many other capitals and it’s well worth exploring New Delhi and Old Delhi. New Delhi was built up by the British and is much more spacious than the Islamic counterpart. Take a tour of both to experience the contacts which make up this great destination. I think it’s easy for anyone to experience culture shock and a sense of time travelling once you hit the medieval-style bazaars and market places.

Curry spices (sxc)

What everyone is really raving about in Delhi though, is the food. It is the gastronomic travellers dream destination. Flavours from all over the world, thanks to global trading (or unthanks?), come together in this city to create a unique fusion of tastes and styles. You can find regional foods from all over India including delicious curries and rice paddies, influences from other cultures are welcomes, creating pizzas and Italian classics like you’ve never tasted. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’ve even heard that McDonalds sells all of the classics, but in Indian style! It’s crazy but actually makes me curious…

You can find little bits of the entire country in this city, handcrafts included. Some even suggest saving your shopping until Delhi, where you can find it all in once place and you don’t have to worry about trekking around with it your entire trip. Sounds good to me. I’m taking a look more at some of the holiday offers in Delhi and there are so many more places I’d love to go than just Delhi: Mumbai, Goa, Bengalore, Madras…

Have you ever been to India? I’d love to hear back from you about some of your favourite places or some travel advice. Leave me a comment, I promise I’ll get back to you!

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