Monday, 18 January 2021

Pita Bread with Vegetarian Filling

Festival holidays have brought the memories of ‘eating out’, which has practically stopped since the pandemic broke out. So, I decided to try something really different! Having found ‘pita bread’ in the bakery section of Big Basket, I set out to make a suitable filling and sauces with commonly available ingredients, and enjoyed a satisfying lunch. I wish to share with you how to make this exotic meal. First let’s start making the components that make the sumptuous filling.

Pita Bread with Vegetarian Filling

Falafel

Falafel:

Ingredients: (makes 25-30 balls)

Kabuli channa or chickpeas – 200 ml measure or 1 teacup

Salt – to taste

Pepper powder – ½ teaspoon

Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons

Cumin powder – 2 teaspoons

Coriander leaves – chopped, ½ teacup or 100 ml measure*

Onion – medium, 1 no, cut into cubes

Garlic – 2 cloves (4-5 may be added, if desired)

Baking powder – ½ teaspoon

White thil or sesame seeds – roasted, 1 tablespoon

Oil – for deep frying

*Parsley leaves can also be added in equal measure, if available

Method: Soak Kabuli channa overnight in sufficient water. Drain completely and grind with all the other ingredients (except baking powder and thil) into a coarse paste. Cover and refrigerate for 60 minutes; later add in baking powder and thil; mix very well. Shape the paste into medium sized balls. Heat oil in a kadai/wok on medium flame and deep fry the balls till they turn golden brown. Keep aside.

Tahini Sauce

Tahini sauce

Ingredients:

White thil or sesame seeds – 100 ml measure or ½ a teacup, roasted

Oil – 3 tablespoons*

Salt – to taste

Lemon – juice of 1 fruit

Garlic – 1 clove, crushed

Water – 50 ml

*Olive oil is preferable, but I have used gingelly oil, which worked well for me.

Method: Dry roast sesame seeds in a non-stick pan on medium heat till the seeds start to crackle. Immediately transfer the seeds to a bowl and keep aside. Once cooled to room temperature, grind the seeds with oil in a mixer-grinder into a smooth paste. Now add garlic, salt and lemon juice, and grind all the ingredients together. Transfer to a bowl, add water little by little and whisk to form a sauce of desired consistency. Add half the quantity of water, if you prefer a thick sauce. 

Curd Cucumber Dip

Curd Cucumber Dip

Ingredients:

Fresh hung curds – 1 teacup or 100 ml measure

Salt – to taste

English cucumber – 1 small, grated

Pepper – freshly ground, ⅛ teaspoon

Garlic – 1 clove, crushed into a paste

Coriander leaves – finely chopped, 1 tablespoon

Method: Hang the required quantity of fresh curds tied in a muslin cloth for at least 1 hour. Transfer the thick hung curds to a bowl. Wash and grate the English cucumber using a fine grater. Add the grated cucumber and all other ingredients to hung curds and blend together.

Bell Pepper Filling

Bell pepper filling

Ingredients:

Red, yellow and green capsicum – sliced thin, 100 ml measure or ½ teacup each

Ground pepper - ½ teaspoon

Salt – to taste

Cooking oil – 1 tablespoon

Onion – 1 no, medium, sliced

Method: Heat oil in a wok/kadai; add the sliced onion and sauté till the pieces turn light brown in color. Add the bell pepper pieces, salt and ground pepper to the kadai. Mix well, cover and cook on low flame till the vegetable is cooked. Remove from fire and keep aside.

Pita Bread

 How to fill the pita bread:

Ingredients: In addition to the items prepared as above, we need

Pita bread – medium sized, 6 no

Cabbage – sliced thin, 200 ml measure or 1 teacup

Method: Slightly warm the pita bread on a medium hot   tawa, turning it over once. Cut the warm bread into two   halves. Using a knife, gently separate the layers of the     bread to form a pocket. Place 1 tablespoonful of bell   pepper filling at the bottom of the pocket; then place   two falafel pieces side by side; spread 2 teaspoonful of   Tahini sauce over the falafel; now add 1 tablespoonful   of  curd-cucumber dip and top it with sliced cabbage. 

Repeat the process with the remaining pita bread pieces. Serve with Tahini sauce, and left over falafel, if any. It makes a great, tasty, and sumptuous meal!

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