Middle Eastern food has always been one of my favorites and what better way to start cooking this cuisine than making a falafel. I remember the first time I tried falafel; it was crispy & crunchy on the outside and as soon as you take a bite you are loaded with these amazing flavors. Needless to say, I became an instant fan of Middle Eastern cuisine and couldn’t wait to make my own. And to top it all it is completely vegetarian.
While the popularity of “Falafel” has increased a lot since the last decade, it has been around since the time of ancient Egyptians. The main ingredient of the falafel is the chickpeas and you have to soak them for 24 hours in water before using them. Now, there are lots of variations in making falafel, the most popular version is the use of chickpeas or kabuli chana. However, the Egyptian version uses chickpeas as well as fava beans. In this recipe I am going with the most popular version, using just the chickpeas. So, let’s get started!
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 25 mins
1 and half cup chick peas (Soaked for 24 hours in water) 1 medium sized onion 1 cup coriander or parsley 8-12 garlic petals 1 and 1/2 tablespoon flour 2 teaspoons salt (or according to taste) 1 tablespoon cumin powder 1 tablespoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon paprika or red chili powder ½ to 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional) ½ teaspoon Baking Soda Vegetable oil for frying Side Note: I have added 1 tablespoon of spices in the mix but if you like you can add more or less depending on your taste preferences.
1. Soak chickpeas in the water (room temperature) for 24 hours in a large bowl. They will triple up in size and you know they are ready once you can break them apart between your fingers. In addition, keep checking if you need to add some extra water in order to keep them immersed.
2. Drain the chick peas and transfer them in to your food processor and blend them for about half a minute. Make sure you do not over blend; we need the chickpeas to retain some texture. Add in garlic, salt, coriander or parsley, baking soda, flour, lemon juice and the spices. Blend until everything is minced but not pureed. Taste the seasoning, add more salt, paprika and pepper as required. Keep this mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour as this helps to set the mixture.
Tip: Making falafel requires some advance preparation because you need to soak the chick peas overnight, as well as the batter needs to be refrigerated for about an hour. So, make sure you plan accordingly.
3. Heat oil in a deep frying vessel on a medium heat. Meanwhile, form round balls or flat-shaped patties of the falafel mixture using wet hands or a falafel scoop/mould. I have used 2 tablespoons of the mixture per falafel.
You can make them smaller or larger it is really an individual preference. The balls will stick together loosely at first, but will bind nicely once they begin to fry.
4. I strongly recommend test frying one scoop of that falafel ball in the center of the vessel before making a whole batch. Generally it takes 2-3 minutes per side for the falafel to brown but if the oil is too hot your falafels will not be fully cooked in the center. Cool the oil slightly and try again. Fry the falafels in batches of 4-5 at a time till golden brown on both sides.
5. Keep a paper napkin by the side to absorb that extra oil and serve them hot!
Traditionally, falafel is served with a tahini (sesame seed paste) sauce or Toum (garlic) sauce but since I was feeling a bit lazy today, to make any of it I have served them with fresh coriander coconut chutney. If you are as lazy as me then you can serve it with some mayonnaise as well, it is really up to you. 😉
Hey! I did make the Toum Sauce couple days later. Click here to see the step by step recipe.
This also makes a great dish for iftar during the holy month of Ramadan.
Serving Suggestions: Falafel can be stuffed in pita bread with tahini sauce, hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers or an assortment of veggies. Also you can eat it on top of a green salad using the tahini for dressing.
Also, I would love to see your version of this dish, what ingredients and methods you use and the like, so, comment down below or post a picture on Saltpaprika’s Facebook Page and we can talk all about it. I am always open to suggestions and feedback and would love to hear one from you. For now, enjoy this middle eastern appetizer with your friends and family.