A universal concern shared amongst us baby led weaning mama’s and papa’s is whether or not in the middle of all the lovely mealtime mess our little bubs are actually eating enough food. I know when we began our baby led weaning journey I was plagued after each meal with thoughts, worries and doubts as to whether Grace had actually eaten enough food. Amongst the mother guilt however I quickly realised that yes she had indeed filled her tummy with just the right amount of food as she was happily content until the next mealtime rolled around. Speaking to other blw parents I have picked up some great tips to soothe the souls of worried parents. One of my favourites for when this particular worry creeps in is ‘topping’ up bub with a few spoonfuls of yoghurt or mashed avocado when it seems as though bub needs it, particularly useful when the mealtime adventure has gotten a little more messy than usual. Another great tip shared was keeping food in the refrigerator that you know bub is a superstar with, you know the type of food that your baby just loves and can devour with ease. This tip is awesome for when you’re introducing new foods and perhaps bub isn’t that interested. For us that means fritters (of any kind, pea, sweetcorn, carrot), sweet potato wedges and our new favourite falafel.
Falafel is basically a Middle Eastern deep fried ball made of chickpeas. Usually these fried balls of green goodness are split over deliciously charred flat bread and topped with a yoghurt tahina dressing. And this is exactly how we devoured ours over the weekend! Grace really enjoyed hers and a face covered in green chick pea flecks was the dead giveaway. I was surprised to see how much she adored the yoghurt tahina dressing too, initially I thought that it may have been a little out of her flavour zone but once again she happily proved me wrong. And the wonderful thing about this recipe is that it’s an absolute breeze to prepare and lasts happily in the fridge for a 2-3 days.
To begin the falafel recipe pop the chick peas, flour, onion, parsley, onion, cumin and ground coriander in the bowl of a food processor.
Blitz until all wonderfully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Place the gorgeously fragrant green chick pea mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat a deep fryer (or vegetable oil in a saucepan) to 180°C. Grab large tablespoon sized pieces of the mixture and roll into balls and place carefully into the hot oil. Allow to cook for 3 minutes or until golden brown then flip and cook the other side of the falafel until lovely and golden brown. Carefully remove from oil using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with baking paper. Depending on the size of your fryer/saucepan you made need to cook the falafel in a couple of batches.
To serve top each flat bread with a little green leafage, a couple falafel torn in half and drizzle with the yoghurt tahina dressing.
Baby friendly falafel
adapted from food network
2 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup flour for shaping patties
Vegetable oil, for frying
Yoghurt tahini dressing:
1 cup greek yoghurt
2 tbs tahini
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp garlic infused olive oil (or half a garlic clove, minced)
Flat bread and mixed leaves, to serve
In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, parsley and egg. Pulse to combine and season with salt. Add the baking powder and ½ cup of flour and pulse to just combine. Place mixture in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat deep fryer (or saucepan with vegetable oil) to 180°C (350°F). Remove the chickpea mixture from the refrigerator. Take large tablespoon sized pieces of the mixture and shape into balls, flour your hands if necessary (just to stop them sticking).
Fry in batches of hot oil for about 3 to 4 minutes each side and drain on paper towels.
To make the yoghurt tahini dressing place the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice and garlic in a bowl and mix until smooth and combined.
To serve, top each flat bread with a handful of mixed leaves, torn falafel and drizzle with lemon tahini dressing.
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