In a vegan household it is sometimes difficult to decide on the menu when entertaining guests for dinner. This becomes a little more difficult if some of the guests are meat eaters, and there is festivity of some kind to be celebrated. The problem becomes more apparent if some of those guests are family or friends that are entertained on a regular basis; what to serve that doesn’t seem like a repeat of the same old things?
Roasted vegetables, grains, pulses, tofu and tempeh are great, but as we eat those on a daily basis, sometimes you need to present something a little more exciting. Having never been fans of the fake (mock) meats – the couple of occasions I had tried them I did not feel my best – we didn’t want to ‘overdose’ on gluten or soy or any other highly processed proteins.
Being a food manufacturer, with easy access to such a versatile range of products, admittedly makes life a little easier. Our Syndian dips, burgers and bites are great – but having served them many times before, we wanted to up the ante with something different for our guests. How do you save from repeating the same menu? After all, how much Babaganoush can one eat?
Several years ago Amal and I were intending to host a dinner with some family and friends and we came to a point where we needed to think outside the box. After a few days of deliberating the menu, we decided to host a special ‘Falafel Night’ where we created a special falafel recipe made in the traditional fashion. With our memories of succulent green colored falafel, we wanted to capture this authentic flavour in each bite.
The first Falafel Night was a roaring success. Our guests rang us the next morning to thank us and applaud the special flavor of the falafel. Some even said it was the best falafel they had ever tasted and that it was even better than “back home”! From there the legend started. On various occasions we had friends and family asking for a repeat of the Falafel Night, and other friends who had only heard about the ‘Falafel Night’ rang and asked to be included. It became so sought after that December before last, we had people asking to celebrate Christmas at our place – in particular asking for the special Falafel to make an appearance.
Falafel for Christmas... I thought I had seen it all!
From here, the investment in the Falafel Night had also grown and became a hub of festivity in our household. Of course, it had to include tabbouleh, Syndian Tahini sauce, Syndian Hommus, Syndian Babaganoush, Syndian Salsa, with pickles and finally a chopped tomato, cucumber and onion salad. People asked for the recipe and spent time over dinner analyzing the flavors and how well they complemented each other.
The star of the show, our Green Falafel, is lovingly made from chickpea, garlic, sesame seeds, a little fresh potato, and lots and lotsof fresh coriander and parsley, complemented by a hint of Fenugreek leaves. But the secret is in the cumin; we use cumin seeds and not ground spice. This blend is a winning combination of flavours. One of the great windfalls about this Falafel is that the large amount of fresh herbs (coriander and parsley) retains moisture in the product for any leftovers – making the leftovers something to drool over. The herbs also gave the Falafel its distinctive green color and special aroma.
The satisfaction was overwhelming – I remember a morning after one of the Falafel Nights, Amal said “Well, if it’s good for us, our family and friends, then it should be good for our customers”. I loved the idea – and the thought that we could bring a new product so healthy, natural and flavorsome to the public was exciting. Twelve months of R&D followed, with the challenge of how to convert a recipe that worked fantastically for 1 kg falafel to a quantity of 1 tonne whilst continuing to use the same natural ingredients, flavors and ensuring the same outcome.
Finally in July 2018 we launched our new Super Green Falafel, with the name our way of conveying it’s Super Food qualities. It is now currently sold in Coles supermarkets in the freezer aisle, many independent grocery stores like IGA, Harris Farms and many health and organic stores.
We hope you try it and make your Falafel Night a legendary one.
p.s. Amal is my partner - both in business and in life.
Founder and Director of Syndian Natural Food Products