A few years ago, my sister Catherine surprised me with her invention of an amazing culinary treat: “fawafel.” No, that’s not a typo or a speech impediment. It’s falafel waffle. She wanted the delectable taste of falafel without the extra mess and calories from frying, so she threw some falafel mix into waffle batter and voila — fawafel!
How has this not caught on? Dippin’ Dots were a food craze and they’re not even good. Falafel waffle is not only delicious, but it’s also fun to say. I have a hard time calling them “fawafel” though — it reminds me of the troubles I faced as a kid named Laura who couldn’t say my “L’s” and “R’s” (“Hewow, I’m Wohwa…”).
My sister’s invention inspired this recipe, which combines the already unique falafel waffle with a unique veggie I found in Berkeley Bowl, the Armenian cucumber. These puppies are the Cadillac of cucumbers: extra big, extra crispy, not too seedy, thin skinned, no bitterness, and beautifully decorated with scalloped edges. If you could design the perfect cucumber, this would be it (but Ancient Armenians already beat you to it).
But funnily enough, the Armenian cucumber is not even a cucumber. It’s a muskmelon, in the same family as honeydew and Crenshaw. (By the way, in case you’re nitpicking, I realize it’s a fruit and not a veggie, but my lawyer says that the same 1893 Supreme Court decision that ruled that tomatoes are a vegetable also applies here). Another interesting fact is that although they originated from — you guessed it — Armenia, there are now actually more growing in California than in their namesaken country.
The Armenian cucumber is perfect for this slaw. It holds up very well sliced thinly because it’s not all seedy like the traditional cucumber. And I can’t get over how beautiful they look with their fluted edges, like little edible doilies. I couldn’t resist the fancy rainbow carrots that were on sale at Berkeley Bowl, but you could make your slaw with any old carrot and that would be fine and dandy.
The metaphorical cherry on the top of this dish is the harissa yogurt sauce. Don’t forego the sauce.
Happy falafel waffling everyone and thanks, Armenia, for the perfect cucumber.
Falafel Waffles with Armenian Cucumber Slaw
For the Waffles:
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped parlsey
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup flour
For the Slaw:
- 1 Armenian cucumber, sliced thinly
- 1 white onion, sliced thinly
- 4 colorful carrots, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
- Juice from 1 large lemon
- 2 Tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
For the Harissa Yogurt Sauce:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon Harissa paste (or more to taste)
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the waffle iron to the highest setting and preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl filled with water. Rub the chickpeas between your hands for about 30 seconds to loosen the skins, which will float to the top. Skim off the skins before draining the chickpeas.
Place the chickpeas in a blender along with eggs, milk, canola oil, green onion, garlic, salt, lemon, cilantro, parsley, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Blend until you have a fairly smooth batter. Add the baking powder and flour and blend on low for a few seconds until combined.
Brush the hot waffle iron with grease or cooking spray and pour in the batter. Cook the waffles for 7-10 minutes, depending on the strength of your waffle iron, until they are golden brown. Transfer directly to the wire rack in the preheated oven to stay warm while you cook the rest of the waffles.
While the waffles are cooking, combine all the slaw ingredients and set aside. Combine the harissa yogurt sauce ingredients and set aside.
When ready to serve, top each waffle with the slaw and drizzle with the yogurt sauce and serve immediately.