Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from seasoned, ground chickpeas or fava beans, or both, with herbs. It is a traditional Middle-Eastern food, usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flat-bread. known as lafa. The falafel balls are topped with salads (i.e tomato, cucumber, onion mix with lemon juice, olive oil and mint , such as Salad Shirazi), pickled vegetables (i.e. cucumber in brine), and drizzled with sauces such as tahini-based sauces. Very commonly known as Middle-Eastern/Arab street food in its sandwich form, falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as appetizers.
The origin of falafel is unknown and controversial. A common theory is that the dish originated in Egypt, possibly eaten by Egyptian-Christians as a replacement for meat during Lent. The dish later migrated northward to the Eastern Mediterranean, where chickpeas replaced the fava. It has also been theorized to a lesser extent that falafel originated during Egypt’s Pharaonic Period or in the Indian subcontinent.
Today, there are many variations/creative recipes. I like a combination of parsley, the aromatic freshness of coriander, and turning the mixture into a bold green color. Ground coriander and cumin are also pretty much a given. The seasoning can be adjusted to your taste, as I added a little bit of turmeric, for color, taste, and its health benefits.
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 270 g/ 9.5 oz dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans (soaked 24 hours & drained well, makes ~3 cups)
• 220 g/ 7 oz/ 1 medium sweet or yellow onion
• 1 ~ 2 medium-sized clove(s) garlic
• 100 g fresh parsley (leaves & stems) washed and drained completely
• 100 g fresh cilantro/coriander (leaves & stems) washed and drained completely
• 1 Tbsp ground cumin
• 1 Tbsp ground coriander
• 1/8 tsp ground turmeric (optional – it is not original)
• 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 Tbsp all-purpose unbleached flour (or g/f flour)
• high smoke point vegetable oil for deep frying
◊ Soak chickpeas in water, at least 4 cm/ 1½” higher than the chickpeas. Soak for 24 hrs and drain very well.
◊ Cut the onion, parsley and cilantro in size to make them food processor friendly.
◊ In the food processor, purée the soaked, well-drained-no-liquid chickpeas, onion and garlic. Empty into a large bowl.
◊ Next, finely (not purée) process well-drained, fresh parsley and cilantro. Empty into the same large bowl.
◊ Add/sprinkle all seasonings, including flour and using silicone/rubber spatula, scraping the bowl sides and bottom, mix the ingredients very well.
◊ Form ping-pong-sized balls and place them on a large plate. If the consistency of the mixture is too soft to form (due to unexpected excess liquid/moisture), add more flour, ½ Tbsp at a time, until right consistency.
◊ In a small-to-medium-sized saucepan, pour enough oil to fill 5 cm/ 2″ high. Heat the oil on medium-high-heat. (Bamboo chopstick test: immerse a bamboo chopstick in the oil. If bubbles start forming around it, the oil temperature is ready)
◊ Prepare a large platter, lined with 2 layers of paper towel sheets.
◊ With spoon or carefully slide in 5 ~ 7 balls (depending on the size of the saucepan) in the heated oil. Deep fry until all sides are well-browned. If using for falafel sandwich, flatten the balls a little before you slide them into the oil. (This is for ease of inserting the flafel balls into the pita pocket.) Take the browned falafel balls and place them on the paper towels to drain the oil.
◊ As for the sauce on the side and/or for the sandwich: stir tahini or hummus with a little yogurt, tadzhik sauce or seasoned yogurt sauces.
◊ Serve with salad as main dish, in a pita for lunch or snack, or as appetizer or side-dish.
~ Bil-hanā’ wa ash-shifā’ • بالهناء والشفاء ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?