I’m a huge fan of peas and with their inherent sweetness find them hard to resist. They are relatively trouble-free to grow so I plant quite a large crop each year. In this dip recipe, I love the taste of freshly podded peas and will admit that many of them are eaten as they are being picked. The sugars in fresh peas quickly turn to starch after picking but luckily frozen peas work just as well in this recipe, so feel free to use whichever you like.
Serves 16-18 falafel
– 300g fresh peas, podded (or frozen peas)
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– 2 shallots, finely chopped
– 1 red chilli, finely chopped
– 1 tsp ground cumin
– 1 large handful of mint, finely chopped
– 1 tbsp sesame seeds
– 50g fresh breadcrumbs
– 1 large egg
– Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
– 4-5 tbsp vegetable oil for shallow frying
– 150g natural Greek-style yoghurt
– 1 tbsp harissa paste
Make the Pea Falafel:
1. Place fresh peas (if using) in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and drain. If using frozen peas, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water and allow to defrost. Drain and set aside.
2. Place the vegetable oil in a small frying pan over a moderate heat and gently cook the shallot for a couple of minutes until beginning to soften. Add the chilli and cumin and cook for a further minute.
3. Place the shallot mixture and the peas into a food processor and pulse a few times to break the peas down and mix everything together. Add the chopped mint, sesame seeds, breadcrumbs, egg and pulse again to form a chunky paste. 4. Do not purée the peas as you want them to retain a bit of texture.
5. To fry the falafel, heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Drop a tablespoons of the falafel mixture into the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
6. Place onto a plate lined with kitchen roll to drain and transfer to a warm oven (about 150C) so that they don’t go cold. Fry the falafel in batches until all the mixture has been used up.
7. Serve warm with some of the harissa dip.
Make the Harissa Dip:
1. Mix the yoghurt and harissa paste together and place in a bowl alongside the falafel.
I’m simply someone who loves cooking and experimenting with food and different ingredients. From my early childhood spent in Zambia and Australia before returning home to Ireland I was fascinated with cookbooks and reading recipes. I would spend many hours reading my grandmother’s cookbooks and watching her preparing food in the kitchen.
Although I studied to become a graphic designer and spent a few years working in advertising before then becoming a civil servant, the one thing I always wanted to be was a food writer – sharing my enthusiasm for cooking with others, but I lacked the confidence to do the thing I wanted to do most in case I failed. I finally decided to take a risk and applied for MasterChef Ireland 2014 and was one of the three finalists.
For me, food and cooking is about family, friendship, sharing and conviviality. As a mother of three, I want my children to grow up with a love and appreciation of how lucky we are to live in a country like Ireland with such great produce and so many wonderful food producers. I continue to write and share my enthusiasm for food on my food and recipe blog The game bird Food Chronicles at http://thegamebird.blogspot.ie/