Ultimate Guide to Tarka Falafel Sliders: Recipes and Pairing Tips

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Imagine biting into a mini burger that’s bursting with flavors from the Middle East—welcome to the world of Tarka Falafel Sliders! This delightful twist on traditional falafel sandwiches combines the aromatic spices of tarka with the beloved, crispy texture of falafel, all packed into a bite-sized slider that’s perfect for any occasion.

Whether you’re hosting a party or just looking for a fun dinner idea, these sliders are sure to impress. The tarka, a mix of spices sautéed in oil or ghee, infuses the falafel with an irresistible depth of flavor, making each bite a delightful surprise. What’s more, they’re incredibly versatile; you can dress them up with various toppings like tangy yogurt sauce, fresh lettuce, or pickled onions to suit your taste.

Ingredients

Gather all your ingredients to bring the aromatic and crispy Tarka Falafel Sliders to life. These ingredients are divided into three parts: the falafel itself, the base for the sliders, and optional toppings you can customize to your taste.

For the Tarka Falafel

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Oil for frying

For the Sliders

  • 12 mini burger buns or dinner rolls, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida (hing)

For the Other Ingredients

  • Cucumber slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Pickled onions
  • Fresh lettuce leaves
  • Yogurt sauce (mix yogurt with garlic, lemon juice, and salt)
  • Hot sauce or chutney

Equipment Needed

Before you start crafting your Tarka Falafel Sliders, ensure you have the right tools to make the cooking process smooth and enjoyable. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Food Processor: Essential for combining the falafel ingredients into a fine, cohesive mixture.
  • Skillet or Frying Pan: You’ll use this to sauté the tarka spices and to fry the falafel patties until they’re perfectly golden and crispy.
  • Mixing Bowls: Have a few on hand for mixing the falafel ingredients and preparing the various toppings.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: These are crucial for measuring out your ingredients accurately, ensuring that every slider packs the right balance of flavors.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: Needed for chopping ingredients such as onions, and slicing toppings like cucumbers and tomatoes.
  • Spatula or Slotted Spoon: Useful for flipping falafel patties and ensuring they cook evenly on all sides.
  • Grater or Zester: If you decide to add zest to your yogurt sauce for an extra punch.
  • Serving Platter: To assemble and serve your sliders attractively.

Gathering these tools in advance will prepare you for a seamless cooking experience, allowing you to focus on the flavors and fun of making Tarka Falafel Sliders.

Prep Instructions

Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients and equipment, it’s time to dive into making the magic happen. Let’s start by crafting the tarka mixture and preparing the falafel mix.

Preparing the Tarka Mixture

  1. Heat Your Skillet: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Ensure the skillet is hot enough before adding your ingredients to foster the release of flavors.
  2. Add Spices: Measure and add 1 teaspoon each of cumin seeds and grated ginger, and 2 minced garlic cloves to the skillet. Cook them until they are golden and fragrant, usually about 1–2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  3. Simmer the Onions: Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onions to the skillet. Stir well and let them cook until they turn soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. This process will meld the flavors together beautifully.

Blending the Chickpeas and Spices

  1. Blend Chickpeas: Drain one can (15 ounces) of chickpeas and pour them into your food processor. Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  2. Incorporate Flavorings: To the chickpeas, add your prepared tarka mixture from the skillet, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and two tablespoons of flour to help bind the mix. If you like a hint of spice, toss in a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
  3. Process Until Smooth: Pulse the mixture several times until it is roughly blended but not pureed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. You’re looking for a coarse texture that will hold together when shaped.
  4. Rest the Mixture: Allow the falafel mix to sit for about 10 minutes before forming. This resting period helps the flavors to meld and ensures the patties will hold their shape when cooked.

Cooking Directions

Now that your tarka and falafel mixes have been prepared, it’s time to cook the falafel patties and get your slider buns ready for assembly.

Cooking the Falafel

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan generously. The oil should be hot but not smoking, ideal for achieving a crispy exterior on your falafels.
  2. While the oil is heating, form the falafel mixture into small patties. Each should be about the size of a small cookie, making them perfect for sliders. You should get around 12 patties from the mix.
  3. Carefully place the patties in the hot oil. Cook each patty for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Look for a deep golden-brown color as a sign they are done.
  4. Once cooked, transfer the falafel patties to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

Toasting the Buns

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Arrange your slider buns on a baking sheet. Lightly brush each bun with olive oil or melted butter for a nice golden finish and a crispy texture.
  3. Toast the buns in the oven for 3-4 minutes, or until they are golden and slightly crispy on the edges.
  4. Remove the buns from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before assembly.

Ready your toppings and condiments while the buns cool, as you’ll soon be assembling your delicious Tarka Falafel Sliders for serving.

Assembly

Now that your tarka falafel patties and slider buns are ready, it’s time to assemble your delicious sliders.

  1. Start with the Buns: Place the toasted slider buns on your work surface. If you prefer a little extra flavor, consider spreading a thin layer of butter or olive oil on the inside surfaces of the buns before you start building your sliders.
  2. Add the Base: On the bottom half of each bun, spread a generous tablespoon of your favorite sauce—tahini, yogurt, or a spicy mayo works wonderfully. This not only adds flavor but also helps in keeping the falafel in place.
  3. Place the Falafel: Next, place one or two tarka falafel patties on top of the sauce. Depending on the size of your buns and patties, adjust the number to ensure a good fit.
  4. Include Fresh Ingredients: Now, layer fresh ingredients for crunch and flavor. This could be thinly sliced cucumbers, pickled red onions, a few leaves of crispy lettuce, or slices of ripe tomato. The freshness of these ingredients will complement the spicy and aromatic tarka falafel beautifully.
  5. Top It Off: Add another dollop of sauce on the falafel if you like your sliders saucy. Finally, cap it with the top half of the bun.
  6. Serve Immediately: Tarka falafel sliders are best enjoyed fresh. Serve them immediately after assembling to enjoy the crispy texture of the falafel combined with the soft, toasted buns and fresh vegetables.

Make-Ahead Tips

Preparing Tarka Falafel Sliders can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially when you plan ahead to make the process smoother. Here are some key tips to help you manage your time and ingredients effectively, ensuring your sliders are as fresh and flavorful as possible when it’s time to serve.

Prepare the Tarka Mixture in Advance

The tarka mixture, known for its aromatic spices, can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain its intense flavors. Before using, gently reheat the mixture on low heat to help release the aromas, making sure not to let it burn.

Pre-form the Falafel Patties

You can shape the falafel patties the night before your gathering. Arrange them on a baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. This not only saves you time on the day of serving but also helps the patties to firm up, giving them a better texture when cooked.

Toast the Buns Ahead of Time

Slider buns can be toasted earlier in the day of your event. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container to keep them crisp. This will prevent you from juggling multiple cooking tasks simultaneously, allowing you to focus on assembling the delicious sliders.

Following these make-ahead tips, you ensure a stress-free preparation, making the assembling of your Tarka Falafel Sliders quick and easy, allowing you more time to enjoy with your guests.

Serving Suggestions

After you’ve masterfully prepared your Tarka Falafel Sliders, presenting them in the most appealing way enhances the dining experience. Here’s how to serve these delightful sliders to make the most out of the flavors and textures.

Pair with Side Dishes

Consider pairing your sliders with light, refreshing side dishes that complement the rich spices of the tarka and the crunchiness of the falafel. A simple cucumber salad or a bowl of mixed greens dressed with lemon vinaigrette makes an excellent choice. For something heartier, serve the sliders with sweet potato fries or traditional tabbouleh salad.

Choose the Right Sauces

Drizzle sauces directly on the sliders or serve them on the side for dipping. Tzatziki sauce, tahini sauce, or a quick garlic aioli are perfect for adding a creamy texture that balances the spices. For an extra kick, a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of sumac can elevate the sliders beautifully.

Presentation Tips

Take the time to arrange your sliders artfully. Place them on a plenary wooden board or a colorful platter. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or cilantro, and if you’ve used pickled onions, add a few extras on the side for a pop of color and acidity which cuts through the falafel’s density.

Beverage Pairings

Offer a range of beverages to complement the spice and flavor profile of the sliders. Mint lemonade, iced hibiscus tea, or even a crisp white wine works wonderfully with the flavors of the Middle East. If you prefer something non-alcoholic, a sparkling water with a twist of lime or orange provides a refreshing cleanse to the palate between bites.

Conclusion

Ready to wow your guests at your next gathering? Tarka Falafel Sliders are sure to be a hit. Whether you’re hosting a casual get-together or a more formal event these sliders will not only satisfy hunger but also spark conversation. Don’t forget to pair them with a refreshing mint lemonade or a glass of crisp white wine to truly enhance the experience. Enjoy crafting this delightful dish and watch as it becomes a new favorite among your culinary creations. Happy cooking!

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