I think I’m in love with dried legumes (lentils, beans and peas). This Winter is the first time I’ve ever experimented with them. They were never a staple of our diet or pantry but cooking with dried legumes gave me a new appreciation for them. They’re now a permanent addition to the pantry and eaten at least twice a month. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I need a quick fix of peas, beans and lentils so canned produce will always be found in my pantry. Trying new ingredients goes hand in hand with new recipe inspiration which is where these falafels come in to play.
If you’ve never tried dried legumes because you’re not a ‘hydrating’ sort of girl or guy, please don’t be scared of them and give them a try this weekend. Just remember, if you wish to make this recipe tomorrow, you will need to start the hydrating tonight. Rehydrated pulses are creamier than their canned counterparts but the canned produce always has a place in any pantry or dish.
What are yellow split peas? They’re peas that are specifically grown for drying and once matured the pods are hulled and dried. The most popular dish we know that uses yellow split peas are an Indian dahl, which is what I automatically think of making with yellow split peas. As a curry isn’t what I felt like for dinner, I came up with these super tasty and a little spicy falafels, which can be eaten by themselves as an appitiser or enjoyed, as we have here, in pita bread with salad – yumm!
1 cup of dried split peas makes 2 cups rehydrated split peas.
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Cook 2 bacon rashers, chopped into small cubes, in olive oil before frying falafels. Keep oil in frypan until you need to fry the falafels.
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1 heaped teaspoon of mixture will make table tennis sized balls which when flattened in the frypan give you 4-5cm patties – perfect.
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Use any flour that’s in your pantry for dip the patties in before frying.
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Fry your falafels in batches – don’t over crowd the frypan.
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I haven’t tried this with canned split peas but try them if you’re time poor.
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Green split peas are more popular in a pea and ham soup.
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Remove the chilli from the falafel if you’re not a fan of spicy food.
1 cup (250 grams) dried yellow split peas
Water to cover
1 birdseye chilli, chopped in half
1 small brown onion, peeled and quartered
3-4 sprigs fresh coriander
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
¼ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons spelt flour
Sea salt flakes to season
1 tablespoons olive oil
FOR THE SIDES:
Pita bread or pockets
Bacon pieces (see TIPS above ↑ on how to cook bacon pieces)
Diced tomatoes or salsa
Baby Cos (Romaine) lettuce
Place the dried split peas in a bowl and pour enough water in to completely cover the split peas. Cover with glad/cling/plastic wrap and set aside overnight on the bench.
The next day, drain and rinse the split peas. Place 1 cup of yellow split peas in the food processor with the chilli, onion, coriander, turmeric, cumin and salt. Pulse until smooth. Slowly pour the coconut milk in until well blended. Pour mixture into a bowl.
Place the last cup of split peas into the food processor and pulse. Keep these split peas slightly chunky. Pour into smooth split pea mixture and stir to combine. Cover and set aside for 1 hour in the fridge.
Remove split pea mixture from the fridge. Grab a heaped teaspoon of the split pea mixture and mould into small balls (see TIPS above for size of balls ↑). Set aside until all the mixture is made into balls.
In a frypan, heat oil on medium heat.
In a bowl, spread the spelt flour and season with salt and pepper. Dip each split pea ball into the flour. Place straight into the frypan and gently press the ball flat (see size of pattie above in TIPS ↑).
Fry on each side for 3 minutes or until golden. Remove and set aside on a cooling rack, allowing any excess oil to drain off. Repeat process until all falafels have been made.
Place in the middle of the table, along with all the sides and let everyone build their own pita pockets.