Crispy Falafel and tahini dressing!
Every chickpea dreams of being transformed into a falafel! Ultra crispy on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside, everybody loves them but few know how easy they are to make.
1 cup chickpeas/garbanzo beans - you must start with dry, do NOT substitute canned, they will not work!
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3-5 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted garlic cloves)
1 1/2 tbsp flour or chickpea flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground cardamom
Vegetable oil for frying - grapeseed, sunflower, avocado, canola, and peanut oils all work well
Recipe Notes You will also need: food processor, skillet Makes 30-34 falafel balls. Serving size is roughly 5 falafels each. Nutrition is calculated with the assumption that each falafel ball absorbs 1/2 tsp of oil. This is my best estimate; when they are fried at the proper temperature, the falafel absorb very little of the cooking oil. The nutritional information provided here is calculated using an app. If you have specific dietary concerns, please consult your doctor or nutritionist. A note on freezing: I have had several readers ask about freezing this recipe. I have never tried it myself, but here are some tips left from the comments -- some readers have had good luck with freezing the mix, then thawing it the night before in the refrigerator before frying. Sometimes a little more flour or chickpea flour is needed to hold the mixture together after freezing,. Some readers have had luck with forming the balls, freezing those, then frying them straight from the freezer. Some have successfully frozen the finished cooked falafel, defrosting as needed.
Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight. They will double in size as they soak – you will have between 4 and 5 cups of beans after soaking.
Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans well. Pour them into your food processor along with the chopped onion, garlic cloves, parsley, flour or chickpea flour (use chickpea flour to make gluten free), baking powder, salt, cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom. NOTE: if you have a smaller food processor, you will want to divide the ingredients in half and process the mixture one batch at a time.
Pulse all ingredients together until a rough, coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the processor periodically and push the mixture down the sides. Process till the mixture is somewhere between the texture of couscous and a paste. You want the mixture to hold together, and a more paste-like consistency will help with that... but don't overprocess, you don't want it turning into hummus!
Once the mixture reaches the desired consistency, pour it out into a bowl and use a fork to stir; this will make the texture more even throughout. Remove any large chickpea chunks that the processor missed.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Fill a skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches. I prefer to use cooking oil with a high smoke point, like grapeseed. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. The ideal temperature to fry falafel is between 180 degrees C the best way to monitor the temperature is to use a deep fry or candy thermometer. After making these a few times, you will start to get a feel for when the oil temperature is "right."
Meanwhile, form falafel mixture into round balls or slider-shaped patties using wet hands or a falafel scoop. I usually use about 2 tbsp of mixture per falafel. You can make them smaller or larger depending on your personal preference. The balls will stick together loosely at first, but will bind nicely once they begin to fry.
If the balls won't hold together, place the mixture back in the processor again and continue processing to make it more paste-like. Keep in mind that the balls will be delicate at first; if you can get them into the hot oil, they will bind together and stick. If they still won't hold together, you can try adding 2-3 tbsp of flour or chickpea flour to the mixture. If they still won't hold, add 1-2 eggs to the mix. This should fix any issues you are having.
Before frying my first batch of falafel, I like to fry a test one in the center of the pan. If the oil is at the right temperature, it will take 2-3 minutes per side to brown (5-6 minutes total). If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafels will not be fully cooked in the center. Cool the oil down slightly and try again.
When the oil is at the right temperature, fry the falafels in batches of 5-6 at a time till golden brown on both sides.
Once the falafels are fried, remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon. Let them drain on paper towels. Serve the falafels fresh and hot; they go best with a plate of hummus and topped with creamy tahini sauce. You can also stuff them into a pita.
Troubleshooting: If your falafel is too hard/too crunchy on the outside, there are two possible reasons-- 1) you didn't process the mixture enough-- return the chickpea mixture to the processor to make it more paste-like. 2) the chickpeas you used were old. Try buying a fresher batch of dried chickpeas next time.
SESAME FALAFEL VARIATION: After forming the balls or patties, dip them in sesame seeds prior to frying. This will make the falafel coating crunchier and give it a slightly nutty flavor.
HERB FALAFEL VARIATION (GREEN FALAFEL): Add ½ cup additional chopped green parsley, or cilantro, or a mixture of the two prior to blending.
TURMERIC FALAFEL (YELLOW FALAFEL): Add ¾ tsp turmeric to the food processor prior to blending.
Falafel Serving Suggestions
Serve falafel as an appetizer, wrap it into a pita sandwich, or add it to salad for a protein-rich topping. Falafel goes great with any of the following ingredients:
Flat bread, warmed or toasted
Fresh greens (such as spring greens or chopped romaine)
Roasted ell peppers
Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
Raw red onion, thinly sliced, or quick-pickled onions
Feta cheese, crumbled
Here’s a tahini dressing recipe that goes great with this falafel, too:
1/4 cup tahini
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon white miso
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Pinch of cayenne
1/3 cup water
This was my lockdown lunch on Monday! I hope to see yours!