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Not sure if it should be called a salsa or sort of a jam but this sticky tomato sauce is unbelievably versatile – it can be used as the base for an incredible tomato soup, just add chicken/vegetable stock and blend, as a pasta sauce stirred through spaghetti with seafood, as a salsa with tortilla chips etc etc. This time I used it as a condiment in homemade falafel pittas and the flavours worked really well together.

Ingredients: (makes enough for 8 medium sized falafel)

For the falafel:

  • 400g can chickpeas
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • fresh coriander
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • Sunflower/vegetable oil
  • Pitta pockets
  • Salad to taste (I used a wee bit of lettuce and cucumber)

For the tomato salsa:

  • 3 large vine tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chilli
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I had none so substituted white wine)
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of light soy sauce

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 200°c.
  • Dice your garlic and chilli, slice the red onion and quarter the tomatoes.
  • Arrange in a baking tray and cover with balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, and a little salt and pepper.

  • Put the baking tray in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes.
  • Next, dice the white onion, drain the chickpeas and put them in the blender with the cumin, chilli powder, coriander, salt and pepper. Add a tiny splash of olive oil and blend into a paste. If you’re left with a few larger pieces of chickpea it’s no problem – you can leave them whole or just mash them with the back of a fork.

  • Scoop the paste out with a spoon and roll into wee balls with the palms of your hands.

  • Set to the side.
  • Remove the tomato mixture from the oven – it should be going mushy by now, and use a knife and fork to chop the tomatoes and onions into smaller pieces.

  • Return to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.
  • When the tomato sauce has around 5 minutes to go, heat a small amount of oil in a wok or frying pan.
  • When the oil is hot, fry the falafel for app. 3 minutes on each side. Take care flipping them to avoid them breaking apart.

The wee one on the left was a casualty of war

  • When ready set aside in a bowl and remove the tomato mixture from the oven.

  • Plate up, throw everything into a pitta and enjoy 🙂

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