Sunday, April 26, 2015

$1 bag of falafel, 99-cents sardines, 9-inch whole-wheat pocket bread

And then there were none .... Five of the original seven falafel in a paper bag were still warm when I came home. They are only $1 at Salah Edin Middle Eastern Restaurant, 995 Main St., Paterson, below, part of a Middle Eastern bazaar known as South Paterson.

Around noon on Saturday, my order of tasty falafel -- ground chickpeas mixed with parsley -- was deep fried to order.


I dashed out to Paterson on Saturday for a refresher course on Middle Eastern flavors after a bitter winter that kept me close to home.

My first stop was Fattal's -- which sells freshly baked pocket bread and a wide array of food and spices, even gold necklaces and bracelets -- at 975-77 Main St. 

Fattal's has its own parking lot and, on the weekends, a guard will help you find a parking space and, with gestures and waving arms, will help you back out when it is time to leave.

I stocked up on Al Shark-brand Moroccan Sardines in Tomato Sauce, the variety that has the least sodium. I bought two dozen cans at 99 cents each (125 grams). 

I use them in pasta dishes or add them to canned-seafood salads.

I also bought a half-pound of crushed Aleppo red pepper ($6.99 a pound), perfect for garnishing egg and fish dishes.

A gallon of refrigerated Merve Ayran Yogurt Drink -- with live active cultures -- was $10.99, compared to $8.69 two years ago.

Fattal's has one of the largest parking lots in South Paterson.

Crushed red pepper is perfect for fish or egg dishes. I store it in the freezer of refrigerator.
I used Aleppo pepper this morning on an egg-white omelet stuffed with smoked wild salmon, fresh spinach sauteed in a separate pan, marinara sauce and reduced fat cheese.

King's Whole Wheat Pita is baked in Paterson without preservatives, and sold at Fattal's alongside its own bread.

This bread is impossible to resist

Even though I've been on a no-bread diet for years, I couldn't resists buying a bag of 9-inch pocket bread called King's Pita ($1.39 for six loaves).

This is a thin whole-wheat bread in the Lebanese style, perfect for wrapping or stuffing.

At home, I ate spoonfuls of leftover canned-salmon salad with sweet peppers and celery in the soft, chewy bread. Fantastic.

I can just imagine scooping up hummus with it.

The ingredients are bran, whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast.

Bag of falafel

I asked the guard in Fattal's lot if I could leave my car there and walked over to Salah Edin Middle Eastern Restaurant on the next block for a $1 bag of seven falafel balls.

They were fried beautifully, leaving only a little oil on the paper bag. I ate two of the piping hot falafel immediately, and took the rest home for family members.

A small cup of tahini would be perfect with the delicious falafel, but then they probably wouldn't cost only $1.

My Jewish mother, who was born in Aleppo, Syria, made falafel at home not with chickpeas, but with fava beans, the way it's done in Egypt, where they are called ta'amia.

I prefer fava-bean falafel, but the only place I know that serves it is an expensive restaurant in Tenafly with an Egyptian chef/owner.

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