The humble Falafel
Updated: Jun 19
The Best Falafel is crispy on the outside, bright green on the inside, loaded with flavors both from green herbs like cilantro and parsley and spices such as coriander and cumin.
Growing up I ate my weight in falafel especially in my High school days. Everyone I know has their own favorite falafel stand yes falafel is a street food and it’s all over the Middle East. Everyone takes pride in their recipe and the long lines that form in front of the stand. Falafel is a sandwich that you eat as you walk not a fancy sit down or anything or at least those are not my faves.
Falafel is the kind of food we ate on the weekends part of a brunch spread, or part of mezze platter at gatherings and definitely after school which made all our moms mad.
One year my brother in law surprised me with a gift from Palestine. He brought me a falafel mix frozen straight from my favorite falafel stand all the way from Ramallah to Chicago. I can’t smell falafel and not eat. If I don’t eat it shows up in my dreams then I wake up and eat it. I love falafel that much.
This post is contributed to kick start #aprilisforarabfood
Yield: at least 2 dozen falafel
Spices: Cumin, coriander, salt and pepper
Fresh Cilantro, fresh parsley, onion and garlic
Dried chickpeas soaked overnight
3 cups dried chickpeas about 16 oz
1/2 an onion quartered
3 garlic cloves smashed and skins removed
Small bunch fresh parsley washed and dried, large stems removed and roughly chopped about 1 generous cup
Small bunch cleaned and dried cilantro, large stems removed and roughly chopped about a generous cup
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp of baking powder (see ***note)
1-2 tbls of olive oil
1 tbls of sesame seeds
vegetable oil or flavorless oil for frying
Add fresh ingredients to a food processor and pulse until combined
Add the spices and pulse until combined and you get a smooth paste
Form the dough into balls and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Tahini Dipping sauce:
1/2 cup Good quality tahini (sesame paste)
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
water for thinning
Soak the dried beans in cold water overnight minimum 12 hours. Drain the hummus and give it a quick rinse.
Add the chickpeas, herbs, onion and garlic to the food processor and pulse until combined.
scrape down the bowl as necessary continue pulsing until the mixture is fine ground and holds together drizzle in 1-2 tbls of olive oil to help bind the mixture
Mix in the spices and salt and give it few quick pulses. The mixture should be almost smooth and holds together once rubbed between your two fingers.
Heat your oil to 340- 350F, using a clip on thermometer to check the temperature. Your oil should be at least 3 inches deep.
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out the mixture and roll between your palms to form into round balls. You can sprinkle the falafel balls with some sesame seeds for added crunch
When the oil is hot, gently lower the balls into the oil with a slotted spoon. Work in batches so you don't crowd your pan. Fry the falafel for about 4 to 5 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve hot with tahini sauce.
Fry the falafel for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.
Falafel should be crunchy on the outside and green on the inside
To make the tahini sauce:
In a bowl add the tahini and the rest of the ingredients whisk until you get a thick paste. It will look lumpy don’t worry it will come together. Start thinning the mixture by adding a tbls of water at a time until you get a syrupy sauce thin enough to be drizzled but not watery. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
About 30 min before frying the falafel add the baking powder and form the falafel into balls ready for frying.
To make the ultimate falafel sandwich you would need:
Fresh Pita pockets
chili sauce (Shatta)
Simple Jerusalem salad or
Super Thinly sliced lemons
Or fried eggplant
one of my all time favorite sandwich
At one of my favorite falafel stands in Ramallah where i spent most of my high school lunch money.