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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Henry Dimbleby

£1 meals: Henry Dimbleby’s recipes for edamame falafel and buruk

Henry Dimbleby’s edamame falafels.
Henry Dimbleby’s edamame falafels. Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food styling: Esther Clark. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. Food assistant: Clare Cole.

This is the last of a series of recipes based on the themes of my new book, Ravenous. In the book, I argue that our current epidemic of diet-related disease is not caused by a mass failure of willpower, but by the dysfunctional machinery of the modern food system. Each of us is an unwitting cog in that system, but that doesn’t mean we are entirely powerless. The cogs can also move the machine.

Reform of the food system has to come from both directions: top-down in the form of government intervention, but also bottom-up, with individuals who care enough to do better. Every delicious and nourishing plate of food that has ever been set before a hungry person tasted good because of the skill and effort of the person who made it.

One of the most important changes we can make as individuals is to introduce children to the joys of cooking. Get your youngest friends and relatives into the kitchen, teach them what you know – and try something new. (The recipes below have been chosen because they are great fun to make with kids.) The earlier children become familiar with different ingredients, flavours, tools and techniques, the more likely they will be able to feed themselves well for life. Equip the next generation to build a better food system.

Edamame falafel (pictured top)

Before becoming school chefs, Jake and Sam ran a flatbread business called Luxury Flats, which sold street food at festivals. Their bestseller was this bright green, vibrant-tasting edamame falafel, which they would make by the thousand – and it’s a really fun one to do with children.

Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 8

750g frozen shelled edamame beans, defrosted
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained with liquid reserved
½ bunch coriander
4 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
1 litre rapeseed oil
5 tbsp gram flour

To serve
Flatbread or pitta
Shredded carrot and white cabbage with lemon juice and salt
Hot sauce

Put the edamame, chickpeas, coriander, spring onion and garlic in a blender along with a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper, and whiz it all up until it makes a sort of chunky hummus. Tip into a large bowl.

Put the oil either in a deep-fat fryer set at 180C, or in a deep saucepan over a medium-high heat and bring to a gentle simmer. To continue making the falafel, add two tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid to the bowl along with the gram flour and stir to combine. The mixture should start to clump together (if it’s still a little wet, add a bit more flour).

To make sure it has bound properly, take some of the mixture and roll it to the size of a meatball, then drop it into the hot oil. If it breaks up, add a bit more flour to the mixture. You can check the seasoning here, too.

Roll the remaining mixture into meatball-sized falafels. Fry them in batches for three to five minutes, then lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up any excess grease. Sprinkle with a little salt.

Serve the falafel in a flatbread or pitta with salad, hummus, yoghurt and hot sauce or atop a tomato salad with feta and olives. Or simply serve it as it is…. The possibilities are endless.

Sousou’s buruk

Sousou’s buruk.
Sousou’s buruk. Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food styling: Esther Clark. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. Food assistant: Clare Cole.

Sousou was one of the dinner ladies to become a chef at the first school that Chefs in Schools worked with. Instead of opening packets, she now bakes bread every day and often cooks the children things she also makes at home, like this delicious buruk.

Prep 10 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 red onion, peeled and diced
250g frozen spinach, defrosted and excess liquid squeezed out
½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
½ tsp salt
200g feta

½ x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
1 tbsp black sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 and find an ovenproof dish that measures 18cm x 25cm.

In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion for about 10 minutes until soft and beginning to colour. Add the defrosted spinach, paprika and salt and cook for a couple of minutes until any liquid has evaporated. Allow the mixture to cool, then crumble in the feta and set aside.

Take the pastry out of the fridge, carefully unroll it, place your dish on top and cut around it with a knife, to make a lid. Put the leftover pastry in the fridge or freezer to use another time.

Scoop the filling into the oven dish and use the back of a spoon to even out, then top with the pastry lid, using your fingers to crimp the pastry to the edges of the dish. Brush lightly with oil, scatter with the black sesame seeds and bake for 20–25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

Ravenous: How to Get Ourselves and Our Planet Into Shape by Henry Dimbleby with Jemima Lewis is published by Profile books, £16.99 hardback. To order a copy for £14.95, go to

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