Traditional falafel is made from ground chickpeas or fava beans with lots of herbs and spices. The greener the color, the more tasty they are.
I haven’t included a Tahini Sauce, which is usually served with Falafel because I’m not a fan. I haven’t been able to come up with a recipe that is pleasing to my palate. When I do, I will definitely share it with you, but until then, I prefer the sauces I’ve included here. I’m working on a fresh sesame seed sauce, hopefully, I’ll have it perfected soon. Tahini is bitter to me, and I just don’t care for bitter foods!
The mixture is formed into balls or patties and deep fried for a texture that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, sort of like a fritter. It’s a classic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipe usually served as part of Mezze, and as a street food. They’re best eaten right away, but I think they are fun to take for lunch as a bento box meal or along side a salad. They reheat pretty well in a toaster oven. You can freeze the dough and cook when you get the craving for a falafel snack, just form them, and freeze seperately in a bag so you can just cook as many as you like.
Make your sauces first, and have them in the refrigerator ready to go when the Falafel’s are done.
- 1 cup Dried chickpeas, soaked overnight Don't use canned chickpeas, they are too wet
- 1/2 cup Onion, roughly chopped Yellow or Red, your choice
- 1 cup Parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 Green chile pepper, I like Serrano, but Jalapeno is fine too!
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 tbsp Chickpea flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- oil for frying
- 1 c Plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 English Cucumber, peeled and finely chopped or grated squeeze out excess liquid in a towel
- 1 Freshly squeezed lemon Zest the lemon before juicing, set aside zest for Yogurt Dill Sauce
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp White sugar
- 8 8 leaves fresh mint, finely chopped, or more to taste
- 1 tbsp Chopped fresh dill
Yogurt Dill Sauce
- 1 cup Plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup Finely chopped fresh dill
- Lemon zest from one lemon
- Lemon juice to taste optional
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder, or 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1/2 tsp Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp Ground white pepper
The night before, soak the dried chickpeas in water. Use a large bowl, and make sure the water covers the chickpeas by 2-3 inches, as they will soak up the water and more than double in size. Drain and rinse before use.
Add the onion, parsley, cilantro, pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom and black pepper to a food processor and pulse several times until chopped. Add the chickpeas and pulse them until mixture is very finely chopped and uniform. You don't want any big chunks. It should be a beautiful green color.
Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl and add the chickpea flour and baking soda. If you find the mixture is too wet, you can add another tablespoon of chickpea flour. If it's too dry and crumbly, you can add a teaspoon or two of water. Stir together, it should hold together when pressed together. cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. This will meld the flavors and allow the flour to soak up excess liquid.
Use your hands, an ice cream scoop or falafel scoop to form the falafel into balls or patties. Form all the falafel before you start cooking them.
Balls are best for deep frying or baking, small patties for pan frying or baking. Once the falafel are formed, you can cook them by your preferred method below.
To deep fry the falafel:
Add about 3 inches of oil to a pot on medium heat. Heat the oil to 350F.
Cook the falafel in batches (about 6-8 at a time) for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Use a skimmer to turn falafel as they cook to keep an even crispness. Once nicely brown, remove them to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with a little salt while hot.
Tto pan fry falafel:
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan (I prefer cast iron) on medium-high heat. Gently place the falafel in the pan and cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with a little salt while hot.
Drain on paper towels and serve with sauces. Enjoy!
To bake falafel:
Pre-heat your oven to 425F. Lightly spray or brush a baking sheet with oil, or line with parchment paper. Place the falafel on the baking sheet, lightly spray or brush the top side with oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Sprinkle with a little salt while hot.
Serve the falafel immediately, while warm and crispy on the outside.
You might wonder why baking soda is included in the Falafel recipe. It will make them a bit lighter, just don't add more than 1/2 tsp as it will make the Falafel's fall apart.
If you really want to be adventurous, you can cook them in a waffle iron. Just heat your iron, oil it, and add enough falafel dough to cover the waffle shape. Close lid and cook until golden brown. Serve open face with sauces and a tomato cucumber salad on top for a light lunch.