Monday, July 11, 2011

SABABA On-the-Go, Make It at Home Kit, DC

After enjoying those incredible falafel sandwiches at SABABA Market at Eastern Market (see my previous review), I found out that, due to customer demand, they recently developed a new take-home product!  For just $42, you can pick up a falafel kit for six people that includes the falafel mix, bread, toppings, and sauces. I began thinking...I've been to a lot of dinner parties, but never a cooking party so this sparked an idea. Why not pick up one of these kits and host a cooking party?!  And that is how the idea was born.  I quickly contacted three friends and told them that Zach and I were hosting a falafel party!

I placed an order for a SABABA Make It at Home Kit (see last paragraph for instructions), then picked it up at Eastern Market on Sunday. Our party was planned for the following Thursday. I was a little worried because they recommend consuming all items in the kit within three days, but my friends and I weren't able to get together until four days later. Oh, well...I figured it would be just fine. *crosses fingers*

David brought lemonade and watermelon, Susan brought chips and guacamole, and Yassir brought wine and salad. And so the party began! We started by heating canola oil in a medium-sized pot.  The instructions were very specific -- they recommended forming the falafel balls using the official falafel tool, then dipping the falafels into oil heated to 375-degrees using a frying basket.  Although I have a lot of kitchen gadgets, it seemed I chose the kit that required all of the gadgets I didn't have!  I didn't have a thermometer, frying basket or the falafel tool. Luckily, you can purchase the authentic Middle Eastern falafel tool from Sababa for just $10 so I got one of those as well. I figured we'd make due without the other tools.  :)

The falafel tool was relatively easy to use once we all got the hang of it. We each took turns holding the lever down, then scooping the mix into the tool and rounding off the top of each ball using the teaspoon. We tested the oil by dropping a tiny little ball into the pot. If the oil is heated to the right temperature, the balls should cook within two minutes. After two minutes, the little ball was perfect so we were ready to go.

Zach cooked about six balls at a time and placed them into a tortilla warmer to keep them warm as he cooked more. Yassir prepared the salad and salad dressing while we all poured wine and got the toppings ready to go. As per the instructions, I kept the pita bread in the freezer.  So, once all of the balls were cooked, we heated the pita bread in the microwave for 35 seconds, which made for the perfect softness!  We cut the pita bread in half, spread the fresh-made hummus on the inside and filled each half with two or three balls each. While the kit is supposed to be for six sandwiches with five falafel balls each, there is a little extra and we were actually able to make 34 falafel balls!

So, now came the best part -- toppings!  The kit came with so many delicious vegan sauces and toppings!  We got to choose from the following:
  • Cucumber and tomato salad garnished with cilantro and parsley 
  • White and purple cabbage salad with olive oil and lemon 
  • Pickled baby eggplant, sauerkraut, Israeli pickles 
  • Fresh made Hummus
  • Homemade Tahini
  • Homemade hot sauces, red (pureed hot Asian peppers) and green (pureed jalapeno peppers, lemon and spices)
  • Amba sauce (pickled mango and cumin)    

Once again, I will warn you -- the red hot Asian pepper sauce is truly super hot! Be careful. I love it, but in moderation.

Once we loaded all of our sandwiches with toppings, we sat down to enjoy this falafel feast. My friends were really amazed at how good these sandwiches were...I mean we have a lot of falafel places in DC so it takes a special place to get noticed these days. Susan remarked that this falafel was "unusually good."  Yassir was impressed with how fresh and delicious the pita bread was, which is locally made. And, everyone loved the toppings. We had more than enough for all of the sandwiches. My favorites were the pickled baby eggplant, Israeli pickles, hummus, homemade tahini, and ALL of the sauces. I really love the green and red sauce and the Amba sauce is amazing. Here are pics of some of our combinations.

We paired the sandwiches with salad and wine and finished it off with fresh organic watermelon -- a great combination. One of the wines we had was the Domaine Des Homs la Tersande (2009) from France -- a spicy red wine recommended by my friends at Cork and Fork that paired great with this meal.

So, if you are looking for something different to do and your friends love falafel, I would highly recommend purchasing a kit and holding your own falafel party. It is guaranteed to be a hit!  To order, contact SABABA by calling (571) 224-4063. All orders must be placed by Saturday at noon for pick up in any SABABA market on Sunday. Falafel afficianados can even order them already cooked for $48, but that may take the fun out of the experience of being an authentic falafel chef. For more information visit:


  1. It appears that there is NO option to purchase these falafel unless for a catering event. Do you have any other places that have equal tasting falafels other than Amsterdam Falafel?

  2. It is such a shame! I heard that they were no longer available at Eastern Market anymore. I'm not big into falafels so I haven't tried many of them in DC. Zaytinya has great untraditional falafel balls, but they aren't served in a pita the way most are -- they are super fancy. Amsterdam would be my second choice. Beyond that, I'm not sure which other ones are good.