We recently got to Rifle, paid for our camp site and placed our cook stove and water bottles on the table to let others know the site was taken. This task accomplished, we set off for the remainder of the day to climb. Upon our return to the campsite we were good and hungry and ready to cook dinner, but to our dismay, our stove and water were missing. Our neighbors told us that a very nice group of people set up a tent and partied for the day, apparently leaving with our stuff. Great. What to do? Being the wimpy camper that I am, I was put off for a bit, but then realized we could manage this just fine.
Lucky for us, there was a fire ring with a grate at the site and I decided at the last minute to bring a cast iron skillet (something I have never used at camp before). The dinner plan was to have felafel so, instead of heading to town (there is a great Thai restaurant there) decided to forge ahead and try to cook over the camp fire. I had made up the felafel batter before heading to Rifle, so all that we had to do was make a fire, put oil in the pan, place it over the fire, and drop the felafel batter into the pan when it got hot. Meanwhile, I chopped up the vegetables, mixed up some yogurt with cucumber and onion & cut the pitas in half. Now we just had to wait for the felafel to cook on each side until they got nice and crispy.
Turns out that dinner ended up being great! In addition, the cast iron skillet could just be wiped out without water. The felafel recipe follows below:
This recipe is simple, filling, and healthy. It’s not like the crispy deep fried falafel that you usually get at Mediterranean restaurants, though. It’s more like a patty and is not loaded with oil. The batter can be made ahead of time at home in a food processor or at camp, using a fork or potato masher to mix up the ingredients. If making it at camp, just expect the batter to be chunkier. In many ways I like it better that way.
For the Felafel Patties
1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained
1 T red onion (minced or grated if making at camp)
3 cloves of garlic (minced or grated)
½ cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1 tsp chile powder
Salt & pepper to taste
2.5 T flour
For the Sauce
3 oz. plain yogurt
¼ cup chopped cucumber
¼ cup chopped onion, minced, ginger, mint, cilantro, parsley, scallion, or radish (optional)
Jalapeno, thinly sliced
Red onion, diced
For the Patties
- If making ahead of time at home, place the beans, onion, garlic, parsley, chile powder, salt & pepper in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add flour and pulse until mixture holds together. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- If making at camp, be sure to bring your grater because it will make life easier. Place the beans in a bowl. Grate the onion and garlic over the beans and add the chopped parsley, chile powder, salt & pepper. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and then stir in flour until the mixture holds together. Place in cooler until ready to use
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat (or over the camp fire). Drop the batter by large tablespoons onto the skillet. Cook around 8 minutes or until golden brown on each side, turning once.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by mixing the yogurt, with chopped cucumber, the juice from ¼ – ½ of the lemon and some grated lemon zest. Add in any of the optional items listed above.
Cut pitas in half, and fill with felafel patties
Cut the remaining lemon into wedges, and squeeze some lemon over the patties
Top with yogurt sauce & toppings of your choice