By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Huda Tal, wife of Jordanian Ambassador to Mexico Mohammad Mustafa Cyel Mustafa Wahbi Tal, offered an afternoon cooking class to a small group of fellow diplomatic wives at her Lomas de Chapultepec residence on Monday, Oct. 26.
An avid chef who is anxious to help promote her nation’s rich culture in Mexico, Tal is hoping to present a weekly televised cooking segment in Mexico starting next year, once the covid-19 pandemic is under control, with the falafel class serving as a pilot for that program.
“I believe that food is one of the most universal ways of sharing our national cultures and traditions,” she told her guests, who included Caroline Landau, wife of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau; Carla Jones Soylemez, wife of Turkish Ambassador to Mexico Tashin Timur Soylemez; Mónica Zalles, wife of Marcelo Zalles of the World Bank in Mexico; and Nergish Weisberg, Caroline Brennan and Anahilda Skalicky, all of whom are married to U.S. diplomats.
Also attending the the class were Mayiya Rigail de McGuiness, wife of Pakistan Honorary Consul in Mexico Mark McGuiness, and U.S. Embassy sous chef Marlene Solis.
“Many people like to update their recipes by adding additional ingredients, but I prefer to stick to the original recipes,” Tal told her “students,” as she mixed a half-kilo of salt-water soaked garbanzo with chopped green pepper, onion, jalapeños, fresh coriander and a sprig of parsley and then dropped it all into a food blender.
“It is important that you use fresh ingredients to give the falafel color and flavor.”
Tal also added baking soda, dry coriander and cumin to provide zest.
She explained that the mixture should then be formed into tiny balls (there are special falafel ball makers available in some Arabic food shops in Mexico) and deep fried until golden brown.
“When making falafel, make sure you cook it through-and-through,” Tal said.
“You don’t want your falafel to be undercooked or green on the outside.”
While the falafel mixture was sitting (it should be left at least five to 10 minutes before cooking so the that baking soda has a chance to work its magic), Tal showed her guests how to make a sauce out of tahini, lemon and water that was later drizzled over the cooked falafel balls.
She then invited each of the attendees to try their own hand at falafel making.
After the class, everyone went into the garden and enjoyed a sumptuous feast of homemade falafel with freshly brewed tea, pita bread, home-cured olive, pickled eggplant and an array of Middle Eastern sweets.
…Oct. 28, 2020