Monday, October 7, 2013

Edamame Falafel and Red Bean Hummus

This was a really fun meal to dream up and transform into a tasty dish, so I'm particularly excited to share it with you, loyal blog followers (new and old).

Overall, I'm really drawn fusion and mash-ups because it signifies the world we live in today - cultural diffusion on a global scale.  As I've written about many times on the blog before, I love to teach about culture and cultural diffusion through food, and the lesson here is definitely that we live in a world of no cultural boundaries.  Studying the anthropology and geography of food consumption practices fascinates me, and perhaps in retirement I'll go back to school and write a thesis about it.

The original idea was an edamame burger, but conjuring up appropriately Asian toppings was leaving me in a creative desert.  While grocery shopping it occurred to me to try falafel instead, as the burger patty was sort of leading in that direction.  The falafel concept was much more inspiring for carrying the fusion theme through to all the accoutrements of the dish.  Of course, many others got to the idea of edamame falafel before me, so I hope the addition of the red bean hummus and kimchi tabbouleh offers some originality here and allows for the "fusion" concept to permeate the whole meal.

You could certainly pair this alternative falafel with traditional versions of hummus and tabbouleh and it would still taste great.  Or,  feel free to just take away from this post an awesome hummus recipe that uses the red beans so common to Asian cuisine. 
Ingredients (makes 12-15 falafel):
  • 10 oz. (or about 2 cups) edamame beans, cooked and cooled
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp.  sesame or olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 tbsp. additional vegetable oil for pan frying

Red Bean Hummus (makes 1 1/2 cups):
  • 1 small can (15 oz.) dark kidney beans, or other red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 tbsp. tahini paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste

Kimchi Tabbouleh:
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup bulgur wheat, cooked and cooled (or a grain like farro or wheatberry)
  • 1/4 cup kimchi, chopped
  • a few splashes of ponzu sauce (or soy sauce with a little lemon/lime juice)

Other Accoutrements: pita pockets & sriracha chili paste

Let's start by getting some pre-cooked ingredients prepped: cook the edamame beans and bulgur wheat (if you're making your own tabbouleh) according to the specifications on the packaging.  Set each aside to cool.
While those ingredients are being prepared, you can quickly make the hummus.  Just put all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to achieve the consistency you want.  Feel free to adjust the amounts of tahini, garlic, or lemon juice to your liking. 
Clean out your food processor and chop your parsley all at once (I used an entire bunch and divided it between the falafel and tabbouleh).  To make the base of the falafel, leave half the parsley in the food processor, and add the cooled edamame beans, cumin, coriander, cayenne, allspice, salt, oil, lemon juice, and salt.   Pulse until the mixture holds together and gets as smooth as possible.
Transfer the edamame base to a large bowl, and add the carrots to the food processor to finely chop.  Add the carrots to the edamame, in addition to the sesame seeds, panko, and egg.  Mix by hand until it will hold together in a 1-1 1/2 inch ball.  Add additional panko if it seems very wet. 
Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan, and fry the falafel balls on each side until golden and crispy (I shaped the balls just slightly into patties to increase surface contact with the pan).  As they finish, blot them on a paper towel to absorb any oil.
While the falafel cook, stir together the remaining parsley, bulgur, tomatoes, kimchi, and ponzu to make the tabbouleh.  
Serve the ingredients together in a warm pita with a dollop of chili paste on top.

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