Falafel

I’ve been looking for new recipes to add to the Arabic / Middle Eastern recipe category on the site. People tend to associate Middle Eastern food with grills and kebabs, primarily a meat based diet.

Based on my minimal knowledge about the cuisine I think there are really good vegetarian options too. From what I’ve seen and read, Chickpeas is a very important ingredient in their cooking. It’s used in various forms and the most popular or famous version is Hummus.

I think Falafel comes next. Falafel is a common street food in this part of the world. It can be considered as the veg alternative of Shawarma. The very first time I tried Falafel, I didn't like it. I guess it wasn't cooked well and I was put off by it’s taste. Since my first experience with Falafel was kinda disaster, it took me sometime to try it again. Well, second time it was a complete different experience.

Though it is veg, it is meaty (thanks to the chickpeas) and it is packed with flavour. It can be eaten on it’s own or as a sandwich. It’s a very good veg option for entertaining and it’s almost healthy. Well, the healthy part depends on how much oil you use. I used minimum oil and shallow fried it. It’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The Tahini sauce pairs well with it and together it’s a wonderful flavour combination.

One more thing, before going to the recipe… I often get mails asking for kid friendly recipes. I happened to make this when some of our friends were visiting and I was very surprised to see the kids enjoying this. So I guess this is a good snack for the kids. Not to forget, it's made of good ingredients, packed with flavour and free of any artificial flavouring and it's not deep fried.

Here is the recipe…

Add the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, coriander leaves, salt, chilli powder, pepper powder, cumin and baking powder to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended but not pureed…

step-1-falafel
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Add just enough flour so that when you pulse the processor, the mixture begins to form a small ball and is not sticky. (Note: Start by adding ¼ cup of flour, and then the remaining ¼ cup. You can add more if the mixture is still too wet.)…

step-2-falafel
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Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, add more flour if it's still too wet. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour. Once the falafel mixture has chilled, use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to form the mixture into balls (roughly 3 Tablespoons per ball). (Note: You can also add additional flour at this point, if the mixture is too wet to scoop.)…

step-3-falafel
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Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a liberal amount of oil so that the pan is well-coated. Let the pan pre-heat for 3 minutes then add the falafel one by one, browning them on the first side for 3 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout…

step-4-falafel
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Prepare the tahini sauce by whisking together the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice. Season it with salt and pepper, cover it and place it in the fridge…

step-5-falafel
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Recipe adapted from here

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Falafel

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Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 6
Author: Maria Jose Martin

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dried Chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 2 medium Onion (chopped)
  • 1.5 – 2 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • 3/4 cup Chopped coriander leaves
  • 3/4 cup Chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Oil (I Used Sunflower oil)

For Tahini Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cups Plain yogurt (full fat or non-fat )
  • 1/4 cup Tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice

Instructions

  • Drain the water from the chickpeas and rinse 2-3 times. Cook chickpeas with 2.5 cups water and salt. I cook it for 8-10 whistles on, high flame. Switch off the gas and let the pressure drop completely, around 15 mins.
  • Open the cooker and separate the Kadala and stock (cooking water). You can use the stock for some veg soup or veg pasta.
  • Add the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, coriander leaves, salt, chilli powder, pepper powder, cumin and baking powder to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended but not pureed.
  • Add just enough flour so that when you pulse the processor, the mixture begins to form a small ball and is not sticky. (Note: Start by adding ¼ cup of flour, and then the remaining ¼ cup. You can add more if the mixture is still too wet.)
  • Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, add more flour if it's still too wet. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour. Once the falafel mixture has chilled, use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to form the mixture into balls (roughly 3 Tablespoons per ball). (Note: You can also add additional flour at this point, if the mixture is too wet to scoop.)
  • Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a liberal amount of oil so that the pan is well-coated. Let the pan pre-heat for 3 minutes then add the falafel one by one, browning them on the first side for 3 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout.
  • Transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined cooling wrack. Repeat this process until you have cooked all of the falafel.
  • Prepare the tahini sauce by whisking together the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice. Season it with salt and pepper, cover it and place it in the fridge.
  • Place three or four falafel inside a halved, warmed pita and drizzle with the prepared tahini sauce.

Notes

You can make the falafel mixture and store in fridge for 2 days. Cook the falafel at the time of serving. Though Tahini sauce is strongly recommended, you can also have falafel with ketchup.
Though I used dried chickpeas here, I've seen some recipes using canned chickpeas.
If you want to skip the oil completely, you can also bake it. However if you dont mind the temptation of deep fried goodness, you can always deep fry it as well ;)
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  • tried the recipe..came out well! however would have liked it better with a more crunchy outer layer..any suggestions?do u think egg and breadcrumbs would work…?

  • Dear Maria, thanks you for Falafel recipe. I am a big fan of this type of food and am still looking for the perfect Falafel. This one is definitely on my to do list. Thank you very much !

  • Wow… Sounds like a great recipe.. my processor is down now… Can i blend it into a chappathi dough type with my hand itself ?

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