Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 102: Chickpea and Corn Falafel with a Sweet Lime Toum Sauce

It’s been an incredible week foodies!  I’ve won the chance to participate in a food competition set up by the people at  On January 12th I will be serving a refinement of my Chickpea and Corn Falafels at an event where they will pick three winners, each of whom will have their recipe published in a cookbook to raise money for the Food Bank!  And if I’m one of them, I go on to compete in May for the final.  The winner is declared the representative of Centretown by Taboo Eats!

But let’s go back a few steps!  When I heard of this competition, I knew I had to make something that was portable, since I couldn't cook the dish at their facilities.  My most popular dish is my Dirty Rubbed Salmon, but it’s not portable, sadly.  So I picked my falafel recipe, but I decided to change it somewhat, so that I can bring out as much flavour as possible.  Rather than grate and squeeze the water out of the onion, I chose to bake it, caramelizing those wonderful onions golden brown.  Then I used whole spices, baked them, to turn the taste up to 11, and only then did I grind them.

I knew I already had a good dish, but this was a competition.  It had to be great.  So I knew I had to come up with a sauce.  I looked online and found someone mentioning a Lebanese sauce called Toum, which is pureed olive oil and garlic.  Simple.

So on a Monday afternoon, mere hours away from delivery of my dish, I tasted my refined falafel recipe.  It WAS better, but it still needed a sauce, and I was having second thoughts about that garlic sauce.  I had a salty dish, and my mind told me the sauce had to be sweet to balance things out.  Immediately I thought of the two anomalies in my falafel.  Corn and corn masa.  What I made was a truly Canadian multicultural Lebanon meets South America dish, and so Lime came to mind.  My hand shot out and grabbed a lime to zest and juice.  I added that to the oil and garlic, and threw in a helping of brown sugar.  I pulsed it vigorously and ended up with what I can only describe as a near candy-like garlic sauce that went perfectly with my falafels.

I guess that’s why I got in.

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