Review & Preview (Zerzura) : Falafel Pockets with Hummus

This Middle-Eastern delight is a favourite of ours. In fact, we are what you might call ‘slightly obsessed’ with falafel and hummus 🙂 We have had a thing for it for years and being vegetarians, we discovered that it was nothing short of being super-delicious. Most of our less veggie friends put a foot back in the land of meat when out with us 🙂 They prefer to go meat-free most of the time, especially when falafel is on the menu only because it is so YUM.

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So friends as we always say, we like it when destiny decides it for us 🙂 And the same happened this time too but it was reverse 🙂 We had planned to treat you all with our favourite combo of falafel and hummus but the review was unplanned until we went for our couple kitty to Zerzura 🙂 You guys must be wondering what this couple kitty thing is.. Well Just a month back we guys started this amazing get together with friends, a fun Saturday night every month where we socialize, enjoy, visit new places and try good food 🙂 and since the  guys who always are very curious to know what goes on in a girls kitty, we asked our spouses to join it thus giving them a chance to discover it for themselves  😉 Did they like it??? Well they loved it!!! And the very idea of taking out lucky draw to know whose kitty it is next and they becoming a host to select a place of their choice is good too 🙂 So this time it was the turn of one of our very close friends and they decided the venue as Zerzura at hotel Clarion collection Qutub. We were very much on time so as not to miss the fun 🙂 In fact Parul and I were the first ones after the hosts to be at the venue. As we chatted, a Mezze platter was served to us. Being Miss Foodies , ours has become a single track mind 🙂 So we thought of letting all our foodie friends know about our fun kitty and share about the eating joints we are visiting in Delhi itself. The Irony was that zerzura offers a mediterranean cuisine and that is exactly what we had planned for you guys 🙂 So it was destiny once again just along with a twist 🙂

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Zerzura was a mythical city that existed in Egypt(acc to Wikipedia) and this new restaurant at Hotel Clarion collection Qutub has changed the fortunes of the Hotel to an extent which in itself was almost becoming a lost place. As with all the new places and clubs that come up in Delhi, this too has its share of hype and has reasons to have that. We were about sixteen of us there this last saturday . Our tables were reserved well in advance which proved to be quite useful as later there were quite a few people outside trying to find their way in. As the name suggests, they serve a mix of Mediterranean, Moroccan and also some Italian cuisine.

Ambience: This has come up right where the Coffee shop at the Qutub used to be and has been done up on a good scale. The interiors are appealing especially the Middle eastern inspired wooden carved decor is sure to catch the attention of one and all. The area near the dancing floor and bar is good but nothing fancy.The seating with all the long chairs looked comfy but it is the outside area that gets all the points from our side. It can be called an Al fresco area even though it is covered and has some Plantation too.There is a good wooden seating option here as well and is ideal for their nice Hookah range, the Private seating is excellent with all the wooden carvings giving it a very mystical look.

Menu/food: There is quite a nice range of Soups, they also have some exotic starters like Quails, Kibbeh and sheefa, fattoush etc. Also there is tapas, Wood oven Pizzas and some good Mediterranean dishes. So as we mentioned that we are kind of obsessed so we stuck on to Mezze platter. It was decent with falafel and hummus being the highlight for us. We would have easily had about 8 to 10 Falafels each easily 🙂 apart from other things on the menu. And after all this Parul still wonders why she is gaining the inches 🙂 I too, am not far behind 😦 The freshly prepared pizza coming out of their wood oven was good too. In drinks there were couple of cocktails and mocktails. Parul and I stuck to virgin mojito and fresh lime which were both well made 🙂

They also have salsa nights organised by the Delhi salsa club every Saturday and on that  day floor is packed with salsa enthusiasts.It is followed later by Electro/trance  music played by a resident Dj which is also quite enjoyable. All in all, zerzura is a slightly expensive place but worth a visit. And yes foodies, falafel and hummus is a must try there 🙂 This place is here to stay or let us say here to stay this month till we update you about our next kitty plans :)… and yes guess whose is it next???  Mine 🙂 But little stressed deciding the place. Suggestions are more than welcome 🙂

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Falafel is a traditionally Arab food that has been adopted by Israeli Jews. The word falafel may descend from the Arabic word falāfil, a plural of the word filfil, meaning “pepper.” These fried vegetarian fritters are served in most Israeli restaurants along with hummus and tahini sauce (known as a “falafel plate.”) The idea of stuffing falafel into pita pockets is actually an invention of Yemenite Jewish immigrants to Israel. The introduction of falafel pita sandwiches made falafel portable, which expanded its popularity and made it into the number one “fast food” in Israel.Falafel is very popular in the Middle East as a fast food. Vendors sell it on the street corners in Cairo. As a main dish, it is served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it is served on a salad, or with hummus and tahini. Falafel is a favourite among vegetarians. In Egypt, McDonald’s has their version of a falafel sandwich. Can you guess the name? McFalafel, of course. It’s a delicious form of fast food that is much lighter and better for your heart than burgers and fries.

When falafel is made the traditional way, is indeed a Vegan food. it’s a great source of protein for people who have to cut meat out of their diet. It’s relatively low in fat and has no cholesterol if you fry it in heart-healthy grapeseed oil. And if you top it with veggies in a pita, it becomes a filling and nourishing meal!

An important fact about Falafel is that it was originally made with fava beans and continues to be made that way in Egypt and other Arab countries, but Israeli falafel is made from chickpeas. This is because many Jews have a medical deficiency called G6PD, which is a hereditary enzymatic deficiency that can be triggered by fava beans.

Here’s our favourite way to make a falafel pita: start with a layer of hummus deep inside the pocket, then add the falafel, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. Top with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Hey ! we are making ourselves hungry! 🙂

You will need to soak dried chickpeas overnight for your falafel to turn out right; canned beans are too tender and contain too much moisture to achieve the right consistency. Don’t cook the chickpeas, because this will result in a mushier and denser falafel, which is not the proper texture.

Of course, since falafels are deep fried chickpea patties with a pretty heavy sauce and served in a white pita, they’re not exactly the healthiest meal.But Chick peas are one of the most versatile beans that abound in all major nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium as well as fibre. So they are great for a treat once in a while.

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Savour our falafel recipe

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METHOD:

  • Grind chickpeas without water, with coriander seeds and cumin seeds to a rough paste. Add all other ingredients to the chickpeas in the grinder and grind again for a short while to form a coarse paste. Add bread crumbs (optional).
  • Make small round balls.
  • Heat oil and fry falafel on medium heat till golden brown. Keep aside.

“WRAP IT UP” WITH HOMEMADE HUMMUS

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Hummus is a dip/spread that is made from chickpeas and is one of more popular Middle Eastern dips. In fact, hummus is the Arabic word for chickpea. You may notice that many hummus recipes call for garbanzo beans, not chickpeas. Don’t worry, garbanzo is the Spanish translation of chickpea. They are called cece beans in Italy.

Hummus is one of the oldest foods dating back to ancient Egypt. This Middle Eastern and Arabic food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Today, it is popular throughout the Middle East, Turkey, North Africa, Morocco, and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe.

Served with fresh or toasted pita bread, hummus makes for a great snack or appetizer. Tahini is an important part of the hummus recipe and cannot be substituted. However, it can be omitted.

This easy dip recipe is great to make sandwiches for your lunchbox, or simply to serve with breadsticks pita or most importantly with Falafel :)You can also serve this lemony-garlic chick pea spread on thin whole wheat pita bread and sprinkle a little chilli powder on top for that added spice. We often serve leftover hummus with whole wheat toast for breakfast as a healthier substitute to butter. Try it and we are sure you will enjoy it.

Hummus is one of the few foods that  leaves you feeling satiated without  spiking your blood glucose levels.  It’s tasty and nutritious, but also low in calories.  Hummus is vegetarian dish, actually it’s also vegan.  Basically made up of 60 – 70% water, chick peas, sesame seeds, olive oil and lemon, it’s considered a grain / legume, but if you eat it with bread it’s actually a complete protein.  A great source of dietary fiber, Hummus  also packs the good monounsaturated fats like Omega 3 and is rich in vitamins C, E, K, and B6 to name a few, but it doesn’t stop there.  Minerals like Manganese, Copper and Sodium are accompanied by Iron, Folate, Thiamin, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc.

Some types of hummus have a strong lemon flavor, some have an overwhelming garlic flavour, and some hummus has a spicy tone. When making your own hummus, you have to keep your own taste buds in mind. If a recipe calls for a lot of tahini and you don’t like tahini, scale down the amount or simply omit it. The fun about Middle Eastern cooking is that the ingredient amounts aren’t set in stone. Add a little of this and take away that and you still have a culinary masterpiece!

Here’s our excellent hummus recipe that have a variety of ingredients that makes hummus more exciting! This is a healthier version of the traditional hummus that is made using loads of olive oil and sesame seeds. As a spread, dip or garlicky pita filling; classic hummus is both delicious and satisfying. When served with Falafel you won’t ask for more 🙂 Best of all, it’s whipped up in seconds in a blender or food processor. So start making 🙂

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METHOD:

  • Boil the chickpeas for hummus and let it cool for a while.
  • Add the boiled chickpeas in the grinder to make a smooth paste with all the other ingredients.
  • Use a little water it required. Remove to a small bowl.
  • Add 2 tbsp olive oil, some paprika and 1 tsp lemon juice.

          FALAFAL POCKETS:

  • Cut the pita bread into 2 pieces. Spread some olive oil and sprinkle some chili flakes.
  • Open a piece with a knife from the cut side, going almost till the curved edge. But remember to keep the base joint from the edges, such that you get a pocket.
  • Lightly toast the pita breads on the oven.
  • Spread some hummus on one side of pita bread and some mayonnaise on the other.
  • Throw some onions sprinkled with lemon juice and paprika inside the pocket with some shredded cabbage. Now push 2-3 falafel balls inside the pocket.
  • Decorate the sandwich with some lettuce leaves and olives.

Falafel and Hummus are a little bit time consuming but SOOOO worth the effort. This is a great recipe to impress your significant other or your next dinner party guests-if they like food that’s awesome. It’s what we call legen….wait for it….dary 🙂 legendary 🙂

Cheers!!!

Parul n Sakshi

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