Tim asked me for a falafel sandwich the other day. I would usually just order these from the Halal Guys or something, but this time I decided, why not make it? So of course, I dove into YouTube.
I think some of the best cooking shows right now are on YouTube.
PBS does a great job, and now Netflix is getting into the game as well… but all those big budgets and the high production value still don’t deliver what some of the best channels on YouTube are these days. I think The Brothers Green Eats is one of those channels for people whole love to cook. Particularly if you are budget conscious. Most of the food they make is healthy and uses simple ingredients that are easy to find. I think the best thing I have seen on the channel so far is the sandwich series. Mike Greenfield., one half of the Brothers Green Eats has a whole series on the channel just on “from scratch” sandwiches. Each one looks AMAZING, but the falafel sandwich is the one that Tim asked for.
I thought it might be fun to cook some of the delicious recipes from YouTube cooks I love. So, why not write about it too! For my very first effort, I made the 100% from scratch Falafel sandwich from Mike Green of the Brothers Green.
Falafel Sandwich Newbie
While I love falafel, I have never once made it, and I have to confess that pita bread rarely interests me. Every grocery store version I have ever eaten has been dry and pretty much tasteless. Well, if you make it from scratch, it is addictive. The recipe Mike shared works really really well and is surprisingly easy for such a magical product.
If you decide to make this sandwich, I learned a few things…
- I didn’t add enough salt the first time around. Mike does not give a measurement for salt which is actually okay. Every salt is different. You might have to experiment with this when you make yours.
- The magic of the pita pocket lies in how thick or thin you roll it and how long you bake it. My first pita was perfect, but I baked it too long, and it was more cracker than bread. The second one I made I rolled out too thick, and it did not balloon up to form the pocket. I rolled out the next one quite thin, and it ballooned beautifully. Unfortunately, one side of the pita was paper thin. After some trial and error, I got the right thickness and baking time for my oven and ended up with some lovely pitas.
- Mike also does not tell you what size to cut up your dough balls for each of the pitas or how many you should expect to make. This is not critical information, because it really does depend on what size you want your final pita. I made mine a bit larger than I wanted in the end. Next time I will go for smaller balls of dough, so my final pitas end up about 5-6 inches in diameter. The perfect size (in my opinion!) for a falafel sandwich.
- Mike G.’s sandwich also includes an eggplant sandwich that is shockingly easy to make, quick red onion and cucumber pickle, and a creamy feta and yogurt drizzle. All these elements are super simple to make and I would either make them the day before or during the bread rise.
- The falafel comes together so quickly. It is hard to believe that anyone ever makes it from a mix. The hardest part is really just frying them. You have to get the temperature of the right. You need to make sure you leave them in long enough for the felafels to cook all the way through. Figuring this out takes some trial and error. If I were you, I would fry a few first and get a sense of the timing before you cook a whole batch.
- Finally, this whole sandwich process is a bit of a project. There is not any single element that I would consider hard, but it takes time and planning. This isn’t something you can make on a whim, or on a weeknight for a quick supper. It will take some time and quite a bit of effort. However, once you have all the pieces made you have enough components to make this for a more then one meal (lunches anyone?!) I also wonder if the felafel (pre-frying to after) will freeze well. Something more to experiment with!
I hope you guys will check out Mike G’s channel because this sandwich series is GOLD! I can’t wait to try my hand at a few of the other sandwiches in the series.
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