Monday, 16 April 2012

Sweet Potato Falafels with Lemon-Tahini Yoghurt

I find it difficult to comprehend the world of a vegan sometimes -- but then I realize it's okay, they've got falafels.  I've always wanted to set myself a vegan-week challenge, just to see if I can.   I don't eat a lot of meat and fish. I can try to cut down on my egg consumption. Dairy wise, I prefer soya milk.  But I do like cheese just a bit too much to give it up for one week.  
  Other than the deprivation of cheese, I honestly worry about getting enough protein. We're meant to consume about 50g of protein a day.  If I were still in China, it would be no problem.  Supermarkets have isles and isles of different tofus at extremely affordable prices.  Dried, smoked, marinated, fresh -- flavored with five-spice, cumin, pepper, pickles. Here I can only find Quorn tofu for 2 pounds.  Or there's even more expensive stuff in some health stores, but ok, let's go back to the student budget thing.  I can eat tofu, tofu's great, I love tofu.  But I need cheaper sources of protein.

So here we're back to falafels.  There's protein in chickpeas.  When baked they're just like super foods, very healthy.  You could, however, fry them if you wish.  I like sweet potatoes, but you can try replacing them with other starchy vegetables like potatoes or squash.  I made these into canapes, but make them larger, stuff them in pita bread with some salad and more sauce, and you've got a meal.

1kg sweet potatoes
400g can chickpeas
2 slices of whole wheat bread, pulsed into bread crumbs
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup chopped parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon

Lemon-Tahini Yoghurt (replace with different sauce for vegan version)
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
juice of 1 lemon
small bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp tahini

-Boil the sweet potatoes in a big pot of water until tender (about 15 minutes).  Set aside and let cool before removing and discarding the skin.
-Put all the other ingredients in a food processor and whizz until everything's finely chopped and still a bit chunky.
-Mash the sweet potatoes and mix with the chickpea mixture.  Season.  Form into balls and chill in fridge until ready for use.
-Preheat the oven to 200C.  Place the falafels on an oiled baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes until crispy on the outside.
-Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients together, and serve with the falafels.

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