Wednesday 22 November 2017

Butternut squash falafels

This is my autumnal version of falafel – sweet and lightly-fragranced with fresh coriander. The salad adds freshness and colour. It’s great as either a snack or light lunch. Makes about 24


700g butternut squash, peeled and deseeded

2 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

Pinch of cayenne pepper

½ tsp baking powder

1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained

20g coriander, finely chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

100g gram (chickpea) flour, plus 50g

for dusting

vegetable or groundnut oil, for frying

For the fennel and pomegranate salad

1 fennel bulb

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

2 spring onions, finely sliced

20g flatleaf parsley, leaves picked

2 handfuls of mixed salad leaves

Sea salt and black pepper

Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Pitta bread, to serve


Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Cut the butternut squash into 2-3 cm chunks. Place in a roasting tin and drizzle with the olive oil, season with sea salt and cook for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool. When cool, place the butternut squash pieces in a blender, together with any juices. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the flour, and blitz to a rough paste.

Season to taste.

Transfer to a bowl and add enough flour to make a smooth mix. Refrigerate for an hour to firm the mixture up. The mixture should be sticky rather than really wet, so add a little more gram flour if necessary. Wet your hands and form into balls about 2-3 cms in diameter. Roll in the remaining gram flour, place on a tray lined with floured baking parchment and refrigerate until required.

Heat the oil to 175°C and fry the balls in batches for three to four minutes until golden. Remove from the oil and drain. For the salad, wash and shave the fennel using a mandolin or sharp knife. Drizzle over the pomegranate molasses, scatter and toss with the pomegranate seeds, spring onions, parsley and salad leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the falafels with the salad, tahini yogurt sauce and pitta bread so your guests can build their own sandwiches.

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