by Kris on May 16, 2011

Whenever I go to a new city I make a point of trying the local street food. There really isn’t a better way to experience local fare than to walk up to a roadside food vendor and try what all the locals are eating. Every city has it’s specialty; In New York it’s Pizza, Chicago has hot dogs, Dallas loves their Tacos and Montreal is a bagel haven. In my hometown of Ottawa, Shawarma and Falafel is our claim to street food fame.

You cannot go a block without seeing a Lebanese restaurant and the smell of slow roasted chicken and garlic fills the downtown air. If you find yourself in the Byward Market after last call, you will see hoards of drunk people lining up for their late night Shawarma or Falafel fix. Ottawa men will even choose Shawarma over their ladies and opt for garlic sauce over a warm bed to sleep in.

It’s been almost six months since my mouth has experienced the magical wonders of late night Lebanese, so I took matters into my own hands. Being from Ottawa has made me a bit of a snob when it comes to Shawarma and Falafel so I knew going to a Dallas restaurant would only make me miss Ottawa’s street food more. I dusted off the food processor and ventured into my own late night fix. In no way could it ever compete with Ottawa locales such as Maroush or Aladins but it far surpassed anything I have tried in Texas. What is your city’s street food?

1 16oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
½ yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. cooked bulgar wheat
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour

Lemon Tahini sauce
¼ cup tahini
juice from two lemons
½ Tsp. paprika
1 garlic clove, minced

4 pitas
1 tomato, diced
½ red onion, finely sliced
½ cucumber, halved and sliced
1 cup green leaf or romaine lettuce, shredded
¼ cup tzatziki (optional)
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
½ cup tabouleh

In a food processor combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth. Place in a sealable container and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking oil, set aside.

Scoop two tablespoons of mixture and roll with your hands to create a ball. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat for all the mixture. Makes about 12 equally sized falafel balls.

Brush falafel with olive oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. You can opt to broil them for an additional 2 minutes to brown the tops.

In the meantime combine all ingredients for the lemon tahini sauce in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth; set aside.

To assemble spread tzatziki over four warmed pita’s. Top with three falafel ball, diced tomato, red onion, cucumber and lettuce. Drizzle with lemon tahini sauce and sprinkle with feta cheese and tabouleh. Fold the pita and secure with tin foil. Serve warm.

Serves 4

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

veronica May 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I like that you’re keepin’ it real and wrapping it in foil too


munchinwithmunchkin May 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

It would be sacrilegious not to. :)


laura May 18, 2011 at 2:36 am

i can almost smell this. lol! looking forward to trying it. bookmarked it for safekeeping


Ragamuffin Diaries May 19, 2011 at 8:11 am

my mouth is watering right now. While in New Orleans I was working at a Lebanese restaurant, but that’s already over a month in the past, and I definitely miss the falafel!!!


munchinwithmunchkin May 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I really believe one needs Lebanese food at least once a month to stay sane. I go a little coo coo bananas without my fix


Candace May 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm

In Houston we have a place called Droubi’s and they make terrific Falafel and other yummies, too. Try them if you ever get down this way again :)


Junia @ Mis Pensamientos May 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm

this looks AMAZING! i love baked falafels. yum~~~!


Katie June 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Being from Philly, my street food of choice is obviously the cheesesteak. But this does look pretty delicious!


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