Falafel is a very popular food in the Middle East, where it is sold by street vendors as fast food. Falafel is a deep-fried ball of chickpeas and seasoning. It is often served in sandwich form with pita bread, lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. Falafel can often be found in salads, or with hummus and tahini. This vegetarian treat is delicious and nutritious.
Ingredients and supplies:
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, or 16 oz. canned
- 1 large onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin (more for spicier falafel)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Medium bowl
- Large spoon
- Food processor or blender (optional)
- Slotted spoon
Prepare the ingredients. Chop the onion, garlic, and parsley. If using dried chickpeas, cover with cold water overnight, and then cook according to the instructions on the package. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before using to make falafel. If you're using canned chickpeas, drain the water before using.
Combine ingredients. Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and flour in a medium bowl. Taste, and then add more seasonings if desired. Then mash the chickpeas using the back of a large spoon. The result should be a thick paste; it may be easier to combine ingredients in a food processor, if you have one. Your falafel will have a better texture if combined in a blender or food processor than if you mash the chickpeas by hand. You can make this chickpea paste a day ahead of time for faster preparation the day you plan to serve the falafel.
Fry the falafel. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large frying pan. Then form small balls with the chickpea mixture. They should be about the size of a ping pong ball, slightly flattened. Falafel can also be formed into patties and served like a burger. Fry in the oil over medium-high heat (approximately 350 degrees) until they turn golden brown. If they seem to be browning too quickly, reduce the heat so that the falafel will be evenly cooked. This should take 5 to 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil. For a healthier option, bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15 to 25 minutes.
Serve. Serve hot in pita bread. Falafel can be eaten as a main course, snack, or appetizer with tahini sauce. This very filling meal can be served in many ways.
Falafel is a delicious and nutritious dish that is easy to make and has a unique taste. This recipe makes about two dozen falafel balls.