food matters monday

I love love love Egyptian food, especially of the vegetarian variety.  What’s not to love?  It’s carbs carbs carbs, fried food, carbs, more carbs, more fried food and some pickles.  Yum.  Unfortunately, traditional Egyptian fare doesn’t fit well in a food matters diet.  This weekend, I attempted to rework a classic dish – ta’amia, aka Egyptian falafel, to be more Food Matters friendly.  In other countries, the main ingredient of falafel (aside from copious amounts of oil for frying) are chickpeas, but in Egypt, the base of the dish are fava beans.  Veggie burgers made from chickpeas and vegetables have been a big hit in the past at Casa Squeaky, so I thought, why not veggie-burger-fy ta’amia?

The base recipe comes from the most excellent Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and North Africa.  I’ve added a bunch of shredded carrots (and will probably add shredded zucchini come summer when it’s cheaper), and baked the patties instead of frying.  The final result is a bit on the dry and crumbly side, but if you eat it with juicy vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, and add a sauce to your sandwich made from yogurt or tahena, I think it’s decent.  Next time, I think I’ll add less in the way of breadcrumbs, and perhaps add a little moisture with added olive oil and/or lemon juice.  Plus, shredded zucchinis are quite moist and would add a lot I think.

Ta’amia with Vegetables

  • 2 cups dried split fava beans (you need the split version, as the whole has the skin on, and fava bean skin is very difficult to digest)
  • 1 large onion, diced fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, more or less to taste (my dishes are always very garlicy)
  • 1/2 lb carrots, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) hot sauce or hot peppers chopped
  • 1 large bunch of parsley, washed and stems removed
  • bread crumbs
  • olive oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put beans in a pot, cover with water and boil until beans are just beginning to get tender.  Don’t overcook, or the mixture will be too mushy.

While beans are cooking, heat olive oil in pan and saute onions.  After a few minutes, add garlic, cumin, pepper and coriander.  Saute a few more minutes, then add shredded carrots.  Continue to cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently so that the oil coats all the carrots and they cook through.

Drain beans and add to food processor.  Add parsley and pulse until well blended, but still slightly textured.  It shouldn’t be completely smooth.

In a large bowl, dump in onion and carrot mixture and the bean parsley mix.  Stir together and add a little bit of bread crumbs.  I’ve only made this once, and think I added too much (1/4 cup), as the ta’amia was very dry.  Next time, I may just add a tablespoon, and also add a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil.  As I’ve mentioned, AbuS likes cooking with NO OIL, which can make things kind of dry.

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and create small patties.  I fit 16 onto each sheet.  Bake 10 minutes, then remove from oven, turn and bake for 7 more minutes.

Serve in a whole wheat pita with abundant amounts of vegetables and a yogurt or tahena sauce.  Here’s another UmmS original, spicy tahena sauce.  Mix the following ingredients together and enjoy:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • hot sauce to taste

6 thoughts on “food matters monday

  1. Oooh, looks yummy and so much healthier than the Egyptian ones from the street vendors!
    If I make it and don’t ruin it, my husband would be so happy to be eating tameya after all this time! I’ll let you know how it turns out when I manage to make it!

    • Excellent! I’d say it’s ta’amia-esque, so if he’s looking for something just like ta’amia at home, it will probably disapoint. But if he’s open minded about trying something new, inshaAllah it will be good.

      It took awhile to convince AbuS that meals didn’t have to include large hunks of meat and lots of rice AND bread. Now he’s managed to create a “healthy” version of ful that he eats along with veggies as dinner. iA one of these days I’ll post that recipe as well.

  2. I am still planning on making it but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I might fry it the first time to tempt my husband a little. He’s not super open-minded about food and eating healthy. It makes me discouraged beacuse he’s overweight and he believes himself that he will not die very old and doesn’t seem to really mind or want to change his lifestyle to help change his idea of his future.

    • My MIL has the same indifference. It’s like, I’ve lived this way my whole life, and I’ll die when I die, so why bother? Bah!

  3. It sounds good, must try this one day (when i have access to my kitchen at home).

    As for the bread crumbs… I suppose it’s the white bread… or can you use the whole grain one?

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