Middle Eastern must-trys: Falafels, Israeli salad and more

Reza Motamednia, executive chef at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, Calif., crafts falafels and Israeli salad on TODAY. His Middle Eastern dishes, finished off with a sweet strawberry shortcake, are musts for any vegetarian.

Falafels
Servings:

Make 24 falafels

Ingredients

    • 2 cups chickpea flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking power
    • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
    • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
    • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Salt and ground pepper to taste
    • 3/4 cup cold water
    • Olive oil for frying

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Roll the falafel mixture into a ping-pong-ball size. Pour 1/4 inches of olive oil in a large pan. Heat the olive oil. Carefully slip a few falafels at a time into the hot oil. Fry until falafels are crusty and dark brown on all sides. Remove the falafels with a slotted spoon and drain on a platter lined with paper towels.Serve with garlic asparagus, baby arugula leaves lightly coated with olive oil and lemon juice and Israeli chopped salad.

Israeli chopped salad

Ingredients

    • 2 large hothouse tomatoes, cubed
    • 1 large English cucumber, cubed
    • 1/2 medium red onion, cubed
    • 1/2 cup olives, coarsely chopped
    • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 to 2 lemons, juiced
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Toss everything together in a large bowl and serve.

Strawberry shortcake

Ingredients

    • 4 eggs
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup of milk
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 pint fresh strawberries, quartered
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
    • Whipped cream

Preparation

Baking Directions:

In a saucepan, bring milk and butter to boil. Remove from heat and cool. Sift flour, salt and baking power together. In a large bowl, mix cream, eggs and sugar until thick and creamy. Slowly add dry ingredients to egg mixture and beat on low speed. Add milk mixture and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes in a cake pan.Macerate strawberries with sugar and Grand Marnier. Let stand for 10 minutes. Top the cake with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.

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