Shrimp Faux-lafel

By Marcus Samuelsson |

Guest mentor Roy Choi came in for the fourth episode of The Taste and showed our teams a thing or two about creating great street food. To help #TeamMarcus get in the zone, I shared with them my Shrimp Faux-lafel Sandwich. It’s a twist on the classic chickpea falafel, packed in a pita alongside tabouleh and a refreshingly light lime yogurt sauce, making it a fantastic meal to-go.


Shrimp Faux-lafel

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

3/4 pound ground pork

3/4 pound chopped shrimp

1 large egg

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped Thai Chilis

1/2 poblano pepper, roasted

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons shrimp powder

Classic Tabouleh

1/2 cup medium grain bulgur

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, liquid drained

1 1/4 cups water

4 cups loosely packed, roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 cups peeled and diced tomatoes (about 3 to 5 Roma tomatoes)

1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 2 green onions)

1/4 to 1/2 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped mint leaves

For the dressing:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Pinch kosher salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Yogurt Lime Sauce

2 tablespoons yogurt

2 teaspoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon tahini

2 drops sesame oil

1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

1 pinch Aleppo chili

1 pinch smoked paprika

Hot Sauce

6 red bell peppers

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 shallots , sliced

2 ounces garlic confit

2 ounces sugar

2 ounces salt

2 ounces cumin

4 ounces tomato powder

2 ounces mustard powder

4 ounces smoked paprika

4 ounces cayenne powder

2 cups olive oil


(Photo by yosoynuts)

For Shrimp Faux-lafel:
1. Prepare the meatballs: Combine the breadcrumbs and heavy cream in a small bowl, stir in with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat.
3. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, shrimp, poblano, chilies, fish sauce, shrimp powder, onion, and egg, and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bread crumb-cream mixture and mix well. With wet hands (to keep the mixture from sticking) shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a golf ball, placing them on a plate lightly moistened with water. You should have about 24 meatballs.

For Classic Tabouleh:
1. Bring water to a boil, pour in bulgur, stir, cover, and turn off heat. Let stand 20 to 25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and bulgur is fluffy and tender. Pour off any remaining liquid.
2. To prepare dressing, in a small non-reactive bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, salt and oil. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3. In a large salad bowl, toss together parsley, tomatoes, green onions and mint. Add bulgur and chickpeas. Pour dressing over salad, toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.

For Yogurt Lime Sauce:
1. Blend all ingredients together.

For Hot Sauce:
1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. Arrange red bell peppers on a sheet tray and place in the oven, turning every 15 minutes until slightly charred and done (about 30 minutes total).
3. Remove from the oven and let the peppers cool, then seed.
4. Place all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor.
5. Blend the ingredients, slowly pouring in oil, until fully incorporated and smooth.
6. Store in tightly sealed container and refrigerate.