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This vegetarian recipe is so simple to make and a great snack to feed a crowd. Crunchy on the outside with a soft and fluffy center. These falafels are filled with chickpeas making for a wholesome dish.
So if you live in the middle east, you can buy some of the best falafel as soon as you step outside your house. I have tried over a dozen different types of falafels from various restaurants and street cafeterias, same goes with shawarma. And they were all authentic in their own way. But this recipe today is a simple homemade falafel recipe. It is not traditional to any specific cuisine or culture, so purists please don’t hold me to authenticity. What this recipe is; is an easy way to whip up these cutlets in no time.
They are yummy on their own, but they work well over salads, in wraps or even crumbled over rice and a little tahini with sliced pickles onions. I have discussed how to make this recipe in 3 ways, you could fry them (the traditional way), pan fry them or bake them. I have also tried air frying them but I wouldn’t recommend that for this recipe. I tested this recipe 4 times to get it accurate hence I would recommend following the measurements and steps as suggested for a successful outcome.
What ingredients do you need to make these Falafels?
Firstly you need chickpeas, that have been soaked overnight, drain the water and use the chickpeas. We don’t need cooked chickpeas here. The recipe requires a good amount of fresh herbs, I use a mixture of parsley, coriander and mint. These are ideally what you need to make the mixture and I would recommend using these 3 for a good flavor and color. We need onions (preferably spring onions or shallots), gram flour or regular flour, cumin powder, baking powder – to help it puff up and rise, water to bind the mixture together, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and salt to taste.
What equipment do you need to make these Falafels?
The reason these falafels are so easy to make is cause my food processor does all the for work me. I would recommend using a food processor over a blender or mixer for the best results but you can use the later if you don’t have a food processor. Just be mindful not to over mix the mixture while blending together. You can do this batches if your mixer is too small as well. You will need a stock pot to fry the falafels, ideally a medium sized one as you don’t want the hot oil spilling over the stove top. A baking tray and baking paper to help with the shaping and storing but I use kitchen paper towel to drain the excess oil after frying.
How to make the Falafel mixture?
I use a food processor to make the mixture. You want to be careful when mixing the ingredients as you don’t want a paste you want the mixture to be a little coarse but sticky enough to form a ball in your palm. You can make this in a blender but I would recommend blending the chickpeas first, then the herbs and onions, finish the mixture by mixing through with your hand. This will ensure you don’t over work the mixture. Once you make the mixture if it looks too wet, add more gram flour to stiffen it up. If it looks to dry add a little more water to the mixture and stir well. Once the mixture is ready, oil your palms and using a tablespoon, measure out the mixture in your hands and roll until you have a ball. Place on a plate and cover with cling wrap. Let them chill in the fridge for 15 mins until you have the oil ready or the oven preheated.
Note: If you have a falafel mould at this point you can spoon the mixture into the mould, after your oil is hot and start frying. However if you are like me and don’t have a mould follow the steps mentioned. Do keep in mind, if you are frying the falafels, make them round. However if they are being baked or pan fried the falafels need to be flattened a bit (this helps them cook evenly).
Cooking the Falafel?
I deep fry the falafel in vegetable oil. You can pan fry or shallow fry them if you prefer a lighter option. I have also baked these falafels and they taste delicious as well. If you are frying them, they should take 4-5 mins until golden and puffed up slightly. If you are pan frying them, they should take 6-8 mins (3 mins on each side minimum). If you are baking them, they will take 10-12 mins. I bake them at 180℃ on a lined baking tray, I flip them after 5 mins to get an even color on both sides. If frying, let them drain on some kitchen paper towel before serving.
Serving the Falafel?
They must be served hot. Either on its own with some tahini drizzled on top or sandwiched in a pita bread with some arugula leaves. I also love serving them over a salad for added protein and a crunchy element as well. However I must admit I love having it crumbled over sticky rice, tahini, yogurt, pickled onions and lemon juice – sounds odd but don’t knock it till you try it.
Storing the Falafel?
There are many storing options with this falafels which is also why I love making this recipe. After shaping the falafels in your palms you can freeze these raw falafels for up to 1 month. I do this a lot, as when I am making a batch of falafels I will increase the quantity so that I have enough saved for later. Leave them in the fridge for 24 hours before frying. Once they have been fried they can be stored in the fridge for 3 days however in my experience they can get dry of you store them after they have been cooked.
Enough talk, let us make this recipe now. Happy Cooking Ninjas!
- Food processor
- Baking tray
- Baking paper
- Kitchen paper towel
- Slotted spatula
- Medium stock pot
- 1 cup Chickpeas soaked overnight
- 1 cup Parsley
- 1 cup Coriander
- 1/4 cup Mint leaves
- 4 Spring onions
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp Gram flour
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1-2 tbsp Water
- 1/4 tsp Pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 4 cups Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 tbsp Olive oil for shaping
To Serve (optional)
- Pita bread
- Mixed salad leaves
- Lemon juice
- In a food processor add the chickpeas, herbs, spring onions, garlic and blend until coarse.
- Add the gram flour, cumin powder, baking powder, salt, pepper, 1tbsp water, and blend until the mixture is sticky enough to form a ball in your palms. If you need the other tablespoon of water to bind the mixture add it.
- Start heating the vegetable oil in a medium stock pot, get a tray and line it with baking paper.
- Add a drop of olive oil to your palms and rub around, take a tablespoon of the mixture in your palm and roll into a ball. Place on the lined tray. Continue until you have used up all the mixture.
- Start to fry the shaped falafel by gently placing them one at a time in the oil. Fry for 4-5 mins until they are golden brown and puffed a little.
- Ensure the oil is not too hot as this will cook them on the outside leaving them raw in the middle. I would recommend cooking them on medium heat.
- Once they are ready, place on kitchen paper towel and let them drain before serving them.
- I like to sprinkle them with a little sea salt and squeeze of lemon juice.
- Don’t over blend the chickpea mixture as it will become hard to shape it into balls.
- Be generous with the olive oil on your palms when you are shaping the mixture, if you have a falafel mould you can use this instead - I don’t have one.
- Season with salt at the end just before shaping.
- Check the cooking methods above on how to panfry/shallow fry or bake these falafels.
- Recipe Inspiration: Cooking With Ayeh