Falafels are simple wraps that are high on all the most popular Middle Eastern flavours. No wonder Pune has loved and innovated on it galore
If it is allowed to be convenient,all food can be divided in two well-greased pans. One is the elaborate,dippy-drippy variety,which commands one to sit down and indulge. The other is the impatient category,full of wraps and crepes and the like,that believes in scooping up myriad flavours in its belly and transforming into quick bites. Falafel belongs to the latter,and aren’t we glad. Everything about this lovely export remains alluringly middle-eastern the pita bread,the chickpea balls’ filling,the pickled veggies and that Tahini dip. Pune started courting this wrap a few years ago,and is now in the midst of a full-fledged romance. Multiple restaurants in the city serve the traditional,read simple,variety of the falafel. But experiments have been aplenty too.
In order to add a brand new twist to the preparation,Bohemian at Bavdhan serves it’s customers their falafels with a range of different Mediterranean side dishes. The most popular of which is the Jalapeno Hummus and a Lamb Hummus. My husband and I have travelled a lot and we are both really big foodies. We kept trying to re-do dishes to see what can be added or subtracted from them to make the dish even more interesting and suited to our tastes says Ketaki Pimpalkhare,owner of Bohemian,when asked about how she conceived the idea of these unique dishes. Jalapeno chilli mixed with the traditional hummus gives it a lovely spicy flavour,but we also offer the option of the traditional hummus,tabbouleh,a egg-plant pickle,basically it makes for a nice platter. The size of the pita bread that we use is also smaller so it doesn’t become a meal but a good appetizer, she says.
Another place that serves some excellent falafel is Casa Lolo at Parihar Chowk,Aundh. Falafel is the Israeli version of the Indian dal wada. We soak the chickpeas overnight and make the entire falafel from scratch. Most other places buy the bread from other places,but we make it on our own. Maida is mixed with milk,yeast,sugar and salt,which gives our falafels a different touch, says Pawan Nagar,the operations manager. Just like shorma is the most popular choice amongst non-vegetarians,falafels is for the vegetarians.
But an exclusive falafel experience can be had at Falafel’s in Viman Nagar. The outlet at Phoenix MrketCity mall serves up some finely flavoured hummus to go with a well-thought of array of stuffing. Some deft geographical mash-ups happen on its menu,with flavours ranging from Aztec to Greek to Olympian. But the most enticing is the pita pocket. Shaped like a glorified maida pocket,it can be held like a book,only difference being you can literally dig into it. Less messy,but equally tasty,this innovation makes us happy.