Who can resist a good falafel? Wonderful for snacks, meals, in wraps or topping salads, they are wonderfully tasty, textural and healthy. Whip them up using chickpeas you have previously cooked and frozen, for an easy supper. (I use partially cooked chickpeas in this recipe, but use soaked but uncooked if you prefer.)
Home made falafel are a huge cut above store-bought ones, or even those from some restaurants that must purchase them in bulk and keep them frozen for a long time. One has to wonder why, they are so easy to make, whereas many pre-prepared ones taste like cardboard. Who hasn’t had a wrap or roll stuffed with cardboard-tasting falafel as the “vegetarian option”?
Worry no more, we have your back. These are fantastic. Crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can grind the chickpeas coarsely or more finely, which ever is your preference. But they must be ground enough to hold together as they fry.
Here is how to cook the softest chickpeas.
You might like to also try hummus, which goes well with falafel. Chickpeas make a whole range of dishes. Chickpeas can be baked, or made into a spread, or smashed and made into a salad. They are really healthy – have a look at this article.
This recipe is one from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2005. Feel free to browse other recipes in our Retro Recipes series . The recipe has its genesis in Middle Eastern Vegetarian Dishes by – my copy is a an ancient one, but it has been re-released in recent years.
Ta’amia | Falafel | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls
450 g chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked until al dente (only just tender)
4 Tblspns chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 – 3 Tblspns chopped parsley
1 small onion
100 ml water
1 Tblspn chickpea flour (or more as needed)
1 tspn salt
1 tspn black pepper
0.5 tspn turmeric
1 tspn ground cumin
2 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn of ground cardamom
0.5 tspn cayenne pepper or Indian chilli powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5 Tblspn tahini paste or olive oil
50 g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tspn eno or baking soda
50 g flour or chickpea flour for coating
vegetable oil for frying
Mince or grind the chickpeas, herbs and onion and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients in the second section of the ingredients above. With your hands, combine all the ingredients into a soft, but firm mixture. Form the mixture into 2.5 cm balls or patties, flattening slightly between your palms and coat them with flour.
If they are not holding together well, add a little more chickpea flour. You want a mixture that is not too dry otherwise it will be crumbly when cooked, and not too wet – it needs to hold its shape.
Heat the oil in a large pan until hot (a small piece of stale bread dropped into the oil browns in about 50 seconds). Put the balls or patties about 5 or 6 at a time into the oil and fry for 2 or 3 minutes on each side (or deep fry) until lightly browned. Remove them as soon as they are cooked and drain well on kitchen paper. Serve hot.
recipe notes and alternatives
The mixture handles better if you can leave it sit for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. They will also freeze very well – defrost before cooking.
Double the spice and herb amounts if desired except perhaps the chilli powder.
Add 1 – 2 Tblspn sesame seeds to the mix just before cooking.
For a change, don’t cook the chickpeas – try making them using soaked but uncooked chickpeas. Never used canned chickpeas (unless desperate).
Eat this with..
a great salad or two, like Moroccan Carrot Salad, or Green Olive, Walnut, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad, and a yoghurt dish, like Green Peppers in Yoghurt, Haydari or Cucumber Cacik. A tahini sauce is good, too, like Tahina Tarator, Mint Yoghurt Tahini Sauce, or Hummus.
They can also be served with Toum, a garlic sauce.
Toum | Garlic Sauce
In a food processor blend 15 peeled garlic cloves with 1 Tblspn lemon juice and about 1 tspn sea salt, until finely chopped. Slowly add 1 cup vegetable oil in a steady stream until a smooth thick white sauce forms. Thin with a little hot water if needed.
You can use less oil, enough to emulsify the garlic, and replace the rest with warm water if desired.