Food peddlers, selling their wares from carts can be found in most Eastern Mediterranean villages and cities. These carts usually appear in the afternoon, remaining until late evening. Because in that part of the world everything must be freshly picked, the food peddlers sell only what vegetables or fruit that is in season.
Wintertime brings freshly roasted chestnuts and peanuts.
In the spring, some sell a very sweet blackberry syrup mixed with crushed ice. Others sell fresh green almonds and a special kind of sour plum.
In the summer they may sell boiled Lupin beans, wrapped in paper and sprinkled with a mixture of salt and cumin. Others sell pistachios, but the two most popular products are corn and cactus fruit. The corn vendor has a cart that is about three cubic feet with a large opening on top. The opening has in it a huge container that can hold up to 200 ears of corn andwater in which to boil the corn. A gas stove sits under the container. The peddler begins boiling the corn early in the afternoon so it will be ready for the early crowd of evening strollers. A cactus peddler takes a croner of a busy street, decorates the wall where he is set up with rugs and several pots of colorful flowers. He arranges the cactus fruit on big chunk of ice. When he is ready to sell, he plays folk music on tape player to lure customers.
One of the most popular food that is sold by food peddlers and now found in every city in the world is Falafel.
Falafel are garbanzo bean based patties that fried, and then served inside a loaf of pita bread with pickles, tomato slices and tahini sauce.
Here is the recipe for Falafel
makes about 40 patties
1 pound dry garbanzo beans
1 medium onion
2 cups chopped parsley
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon baking powder
salt to taste
Oil for deep frying–I use corn oil-.
-Soak the beans in cold water for 24 hours. Drain.
-Mix the beans with the rest of the ingredients except the baking powder.
-Grind the mixture in a food processor until it turns to a thick paste.
-Add the baking powder and let the mixture set for 30 minutes, then shape into patties.
-Drop the patties in the hot oil and fry until golden. Remove the patties and place on a plate lined with kitchen towel.
Serve the falafel with chopped tomatoes, lettuce and hummus. Enjoy.