Traditional Middle Eastern falafel is a blend of chickpeas or, less commonly, fava beans and a blend of herbs and spices. Ingredients are blended together then formed into patties or balls and fried. Falafel are typically served with pita, greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and tahini sauce.
This recipe for authentic falafel is AllSpicer Andy's favorite.
2 C. Dried Chickpeas
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 C. Fresh Parsley, De-stemmed
3/4 C. Fresh Cilantro, De-Stemmed
2 tsp. Dill Weed Leaf
1 Onion, Quartered
8 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt, Fine
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper, Fine Ground
1 tsp. Red Pepper Chile, Crushed (Optional)
1 Tbsp. Cumin, Ground
1 Tbsp. Coriander, Ground
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds, Hulled White, toasted
Oil for Frying
A day in advance, begin soaking your chickpeas. They should soak overnight, up to 24 hours. To soak, place the dried chickpeas in a medium bowl and add enough water to completely cover them by a few inches. Stir in baking soda, which will help to soften the dried chickpeas as they soak.
You may be tempted to skip this step to crack open and drain a few cans of chickpeas instead. Don't do it! The texture of the finished falafel is much better using dried chickpeas soaked overnight.
When ready to prepare, thoroughly drain the soaked chickpeas and add them, along with the garlic, onion, herbs, and spices, to the bowl of a food processor (if you don't have a food processor, get out the blender).
Pulse 20-30 seconds at a time until the mixture is fully combined and there are not longer large pieces remaining.
Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate for an hour or two. The cold mixture will be easier to form into balls or patties.
Prepare to fry your falafel. Heat a medium saucepan with about three inches of oil (we used canola) to approximately 375°F. We used a heat-safe candy thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. If you don’t have one, watch for the oil to begin bubbling slightly before beginning to fry your falafel.
Remove the falafel mixture from the refrigerator. Stir in toasted sesame seeds and baking powder.
Using a hefty tablespoon or small scoop, form into patties or balls approximately 1/2 inch thick. It’s easier with wet hands. Carefully place in the oil to fry, and fry until golden brown and warmed through (approximately 4-5 minutes).
Serve while warm in a pita bread with arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers and hummus or tahini sauce.