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Chilies with falafel mix

10. December 2007
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Most people are vaguely familiar with falafels, those spicy chickpea things you get when you want something vegetarian at the kebab shop.
I’ve never made falafels before. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever even eaten one. But I’d bought some mix a while back from one of the Middle Eastern shops near where I live and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it (apart from, duh, make falafels).

On Sunday night I was looking through my fridge for some inspiration when I found two long mild chilies I’d (again) bought on a whim. To stuff with something.
Bingo!

This is one of those no-cook recipes where you simply mix and match until you get what you want. My falafel mix didn’t come with any instructions, so I poured some into a bowl and added water until I had a nice moist mixture.
Then I cleaned the chilies by slicing off the tops and removing the membranes and seeds. I kept the tops for aesthetic purposes, I’m not really sure why.

By the time I was done cleaning, I’d decided to add some chopped spinach to the falafel mix (which had gone a little dry). I added some more water to the mix to make it slightly moist (almost like batter).
Next, I wilted the spinach in a pan before stirring in the falafel mix. I didn’t cook the mix, just sort of warmed it through until spinach and gloop were well combined.
I spooned the mixture into the two chilies and popped them in the preheated oven.
Not sure how long they were in there for, but by the time I took them out (I’d turned them twice or so, mainly because my oven sucks and can only do bottom heat – the worst kind of heat), they were soft and slightly blackened. The falafel mix had actually spilled back out of the chilies, giving them a slightly odd appearance.
We served them over a lightly dressed salad of baby spinach, kalamata olives and Spanish onion.
The flavours were fantastic, and I just adore food inside other food, so this was definitely a hit for me.
Next time, I might try and add some more crunch on the inside, maybe with some chopped nuts or seeds, as the mixture was quite fine and gritty.

Overall, a very successful no-fuss recipe which would be great for a late weeknight, too.

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