Baked Sweet Potato + Saffron Falafel with Roast Beetroot Dip

IMG_4073IMG_4000IMG_3993 IMG_4071 This is, might I say, a good sort of falafel. The very act of eating it is an exercise in hedonism. These are luscious little demons, as charismatic in looks as in taste and absolutely nothing akin to their dry, crumbly counterparts so ubiquitous throughout Sydney. The outside crisps up nicely despite a seemingly miraculous soft and custardy centre. The beetroot dip, accomplished in its own right, is not recruited for aesthetics purposes alone – it’s sweet and earthy and apologetically garlicky. Together, the falafel and the dip become a powerhouse of pretty-ness and deliciousness and good-for-you-ness. Enjoy after a brisk swim in the icy Autumn sea with a good squeeze of lemon.

Sweet Potato and Saffron Falafel
One very large sweet potato, or two small ones
One teaspoon of paprika
400 grams of chickpeas, soaked, drained. You can also use ones from a tin
A half teaspoon of saffron
Two green onions, finely sliced
Two cloves of garlic, chopped
A few tablespoons of flour, I used buckwheat
A little handful of mint
A little handful of coriander
A little handful of parsley
One teaspoon of cumin
Two tablespoons of lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees. Peel and chop the sweet potato into golf-ball sized chunks. Toss in oil and salt, pepper and paprika and bake for thirty minutes, or until soft inside and golden outside.
In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, saffron and herbs until smooth.
When the sweet potato has cooked, toss the pieces in the food processor, too. Blend until combined, though don’t overdo it, it should be a little rough. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in a few spoonfuls of flour to give the mixture a bit of structure.

Place a sheet of baking paper down on an oven tray, brush with oil. Using wet hands, roll the mixture into balls and place on the tray. Bake at 200 degrees for fifteen minutes, or until the falafels start to crisp up and brown.

Roast Beetroot Dip
Three beetroot
Half a cup of Greek Yogurt
One clove of garlic, peeled
A scattering of mint
Salt and Pepper

Roast the beetroot at 200 degrees for 45 minutes, then add the garlic clove and roast for another fifteen minutes. Peel the beetroot after it has cooled down a little, and chop up roughly. Place the beetroot, garlic and yogurt in the food processor. Combine, add the mint, continue to pulse until it is at a nice consistency. You can keep going until it is smooth, I leave mine a tad more rugged. Up to you. Season with salt and pepper. Refridgerate for a few hours to let the flavours mingle.

Serve the falafel with wraps, rocket, beetroot dip, a good squeeze and a decent smattering of Persian feta and maybe even a really good hummus. Like this one.

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