The Best Falafel is crispy on the outside, a brilliant emerald green on the inside, with tons of flavor and a great fluffy texture!

The Best Falafel EVER!

It’s been a great lineup of recipes so far this week at TVFGI.  I’m not much of a meal planner, and so what we eat on any given day is always a bit of an adventure, and I’m never quite sure how it will play out, blogging wise.   Sometimes I’ll let the larder go almost completely bare and I have to get creative with what I’ve got, (ripe bananas) and other times I’ll pass something amazing at the farmer’s market or the grocery store (gorgeous artichokes) that determines  the menu for the day.  I found the inspiration for the best falafel ever as I flipped through a new cookbook late last night in bed,  I’m so glad I didn’t nod off before I came across this new method for making one of my favorite treats.

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I’ve always loved falafel.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying it, falafel are delicately spiced Middle Eastern fritters made with chick peas.  The round or patty shaped mixture is deep fried and there are lots of ways to eat it… on the street it’s sold wrapped up in pita or Middle Eastern flatbread.  I like it on top of a salad.  You can also serve it as part of an appetizer platter, but however you choose to enjoy it it’s always accompanied by a thick, lemony tahini sauce.  The best is crunchy on the outside, fluffy and well seasoned inside.   It should be garlicky, with lots of warm spices like cumin and coriander.

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I add TONS of fresh herbs like parsley and coriander to mine because it gives it a wonderful fresh flavor and you get the beautiful surprise of a bright emerald green when you cut through the mahogany brown crust.  There is even some hot chile pepper in there which gives a little bit of heat.  I’ve experimented with various recipes over the years, and I’ve eaten falafel in countless restaurants, so trust me when I tell you, I’ve hit on one amazing recipe this time.  We ate these over the course of two nights with salad, hummus, and flatbread.  I fried the falafel fresh each night, and they were even better the second time around.


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The Best Falafel I’ve Ever Made!

Yield: approximately 2 dozen small falafel (serves 4-6)

The Best Falafel I’ve Ever Made!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (about 1 lb) chick peas that have been soaked overnight (measure after soaking)
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small hot chile pepper (I used a Serrano)
  • a large handful of parsley, large stems removed (1 packed cup)
  • a large handful of cilantro, large stems removed (1 packed cup)
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
    tahini sauce
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch salt
  • water for thinning

Instructions

  1. To soak dried chickpeas, rinse them and then put them in a large bowl. Cover with lots of cold water and soak for 12 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse them, and then measure out 3 cups, which should be 1 lb.
  2. Cut the half onion into quarters and drop into the food processor as the machine is running. Follow with the garlic cloves. Cut the pepper in half and drop that in too.
  3. Stop the machine and add in the fresh parsley and cilantro. Use lots of herbs, if you need a way to measure, use a firmly packed cup of each. The herbs filled my processor to the top before I processed them. Process the herbs until finely minced. Stop and scrape down the bowl as necessary.
  4. Add the drained chickpeas to the machine and pulse until they start to break down. Scrape down the sides of the machine, and process until the mixture is even and finely ground, but not pasty. It is ready when a bit of the mixture holds together when you press it between your fingers.
  5. Remove the mixture to a bowl and lightly mix in the salt, baking soda, flour, cumin, ground coriander, lemon zest and juice. Make sure it is well combined, but don't compact the mixture.
  6. Heat your oil to 340- 350F, using a clip on thermometer to check the temperature. Your oil should be at least 3 inches deep.
  7. Using a 1 1/2 inch scoop, scoop out the mixture and roll between your palms to form into round balls. They will be about the size of large walnuts. Set on a plate.
  8. 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 a nice deep brown.
  9. Drain on paper towels.
  10. Serve hot with tahini sauce. Make the tahini sauce by mixing the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and enough water to make a pourable sauce. Taste to adjust the seasonings.

Notes

This recipe is slightly adapted from Olives, Lemons & Za'atar

http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/the-best-falafel/

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I hope you enjoy this, we sure did!

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66 Responses to The Best Falafel

  1. Sarah says:

    Best EVER!
    Just follow the directions exactly and they will look exactly like the ones on this recipe.
    Wishing I could post my pics

  2. DP says:

    This is now the best falafel I have ever made! I did not add the flour and deep fried and it turned out excellent. I think the key is to make sure the chickpeas and other ingredients are as dry as possible when you grind them. Also do not grind too much. I have made falafel so many times and made just okay falafel–this recipe is excellent and the falafel divine. So happy–thanks!!!

    • Sue says:

      I’m so happy to hear this DP. Falalfel is one of my favorite foods, I order it in restaurants a lot, and it can be hit or miss. I’m glad I have this recipe to fall back on at home. So happy it worked for you!

  3. Anabel says:

    Just made these and they were sooo good! I added like 3 more tablespoons of flour to make sure the balls didn’t fall apart. Then I rolled them in bread crumbs. They were a big hit!

  4. bcr8tive says:

    These looked so amazing – but I wish I had read all of the comments before I tried my hand at them. Mine fell apart too. I kept wondering, won’t this need an egg to hold it together? Wondering now if should have tried but then again, the egg cold make them cook too fast –

    The first ‘deep fry’ attempt fell apart completely – so then I went to a flat pan, lightly greased – made small patties – they at least didn’t completely disintegrate but overall they look like hell.

    They have a nice taste but I’m not sure I got out of them what I should have – with the nice crust on the outside and softer texture inside. Anyone that figures it out, please holler. I’ve got a boat load of Tahini left ?

  5. Christy says:

    Awesome! My 7 year old went nuts over them. We used the canned chickpeas because I needed them now. We tried the deep fryer and failed. Shallow fry worked great. Out of cilantro and used the doterra oil. Added a little garlic to the sauce. Saved to make over and over again. Thanks!

  6. Katie says:

    Hi, thank you for your recipe. I tried frying the mixture but it didn’t work well (I used canned chick peas). So I did it again, added at least a 1/2 cup extra extra flour and baked them as small patties. It worked perfectly. Oven at 380 and about 8 minutes each side.

    • Sue says:

      Thanks for the info Katie — I do think the dried chick peas work better, they are probably drier and need less flour. Good to know the canned will work with extra flour.

  7. Gorgeous! I absolutely LOVE falafel, I’ll definitely be trying this one!

  8. Sue, I’ve been looking for a good falafel recipe and I think I just found it. Thank you?, it’s pinned!

  9. vicki says:

    The falafels look great but normally its recommended that pulses are boiled for 10 minutes. Is it ok for them to be cooked so briefly just by frying? Thanks.

  10. RG says:

    Just made these so yummy! Batter was quite wet even after 2 hrs in fridge but they didn’t fall apart at all. I made patties and got 21, skillet frying. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Sue says:

      You’re so welcome RG, it’s so hard to find a great falafel, even in restaurants, so I return to this again and again. Glad it worked for you.

  11. Kimi Wei says:

    Looks like a great recipe. Got two questions tho:

    First, I don’t have a food processor so how should I work this recipe without one?
    Second, what do you do with deep fry oil you’ve used? Seems a pity to just discard it.

    Kimi

    • Sue says:

      I think to grind the chick peas you do need some sort of processor or blender, Kimi. If you’re interested you can buy a small one quite cheaply. You can also make the falafel into patties and fry them shallowly in a skillet, to avoid the excess oil.

    • CharlotteAngel says:

      Mash it with a masher!

  12. Daniela says:

    I LOVED the recipe! The herbs and spices were perfect and the texture was delicious. I read the comments before I got started and decided to try the recipe without the flour. I let them rest in the fridge for about an hour before forming the balls, then I pan-fried them in about 2-3 tbsp of oil… the first one was a mess but once I got the hang of it they worked perfectly and were really delicious. Even my very carnivore vegetarian-food-hater father loved them!

    I served them on homemade pita bread with some greek yogurt sauce because I didn’t have any tahine. Definitely making them again!

  13. Laura says:

    Oh Wow! What a great looking recipe. These look lovely! I love the vibrant green colour! Yum!

  14. Michal says:

    I have just made your Falafel and they turned out amazing accept when I went to fry them they fell apart. I only lost two, so I’m going to bake the rest. :(

    • Sue says:

      They are delicate, but if you form them with a firm hand, they should stay together if you handle them gently. Let me know how the baking goes!

  15. Amy says:

    I’d love to try these, but I have a strong aversion to cilantro. Could you suggest a secondary fresh herb that could work in it’s place? I have marjoram, thyme, rosemary, dill and basil thriving in my herb garden at the moment. Thanks!

  16. J says:

    My family is from West Bank (Jordan), and we don’t use any binder – No egg, No flour, No bread crumbs, etc. The key is using dried beans soaked and uncooked, and baking powder. I can’t ever imagine adding flour; seems like they would be dense.

    • Sue says:

      Thanks for your input J! My original recipe had no flour, but I got so many comments from people who had trouble with the falafel falling apart that I added it in later.

  17. Brenna says:

    Didn’t work at all. I used canned chick peas and although they formed well and were refrigerated before cooking, they melted apart in the oil. The same happened in a shallow fry.

    • Sue says:

      That’s too bad, Brenna…it’s a common problem with falafel. I can give you a couple of suggestions for next time. First, make sure you have soaked your chickpeas for the entire time, and make sure they are well drained, you don’t want excess water. And when you grind the chickpea mixture, test it with your fingers to make sure it holds together. Press firmly when you form the balls, and you can refrigerate the falafel to firm it up before frying. Make sure your oil is up to temperature, and gently lower them into the oil. They should hold together fine. Hope this helps!

      • Emily T. says:

        Sue,

        Am I understanding correctly that the chickpeas you are using are not cooked? They are only soaked to soften them? Like Brenna, I planned to use canned chickpeas which are already cooked.

        • Sue says:

          This particular recipe uses them uncooked, Emily, I’ve made them with cooked and canned chickpeas, too. You can use canned but you may want to look up another recipe so that you aren’t disappointed with the texture. Falafel is kind of a delicate balance when it comes to the batter, and you don’t want it too dry or too wet.

  18. Blumpkin Pie says:

    I have been searching for a falafel recipe like this for years. I must admit that I was skeptical at first, as the balls really seemed too delicate to hold their shape during the frying process (I pan fried). However, I made sure to stick to a four piece batch size and left them alone to develop a nice crispy crust that held them together nicely. I gently flipped them once during the process. They have a beautiful flavor and texture. My search is finally over!

    • Sue says:

      I’m so glad! Falafel is one of my favorite foods, and I love it when it’s bright green and fluffy — you’ve made me want to make a batch for myself!

  19. Christina says:

    Another “want” on my homemade list! Your recipe sounds fab, Sue…I’d just omit the cilantro, since I’m one of “those” people ;) Can’t help it, I’ve read…supposedly in our DNA!

  20. Chai says:

    These have a great flavor, however there is no binder to hold these together. My fell apart in the pan, I ended up just baking them. Still good but not the same.

  21. Monika says:

    I just tried to make these, & boy oh boy. They seriously just melted/fell apart in the oil. Then I tried to pan fry as someone suggested above, & they also feel apart. I do not know what went wrong!!

    • Sue says:

      All I can think of is that you may have not processed the mixture quite enough so that it can stick together? Did you leave anything out? It also helps to refrigerate the balls before frying. But I’ve made these lots of times and never had that happen. I hope you give it another try, and let me know!

  22. I need these! It’s a “stop everything I am doing and cook them right now” desire.

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  25. CakePants says:

    These look delicious!! Even though they’re not a part of Irish cuisine, they could be a great St. Patrick’s day meal, with their naturally green coloring!

  26. Falafel is one of my favorite foods! I love that there are tons of bright, fresh herbs in this falafel!

    • Sue says:

      It’s such a fun surprise to cut into them and see the color. But the more important thing is that all those herbs really add flavor…sometimes falafel can be a little boring without something to liven it up. In this case it has the hint of heat from the hot pepper, too.

  27. grace says:

    so much herbage, i can see how these would taste outstanding! the texture inside looks perfect and they’re crispy too–bravo!

    • Sue says:

      They brown up and crisp in just minutes in the oil, and I know it’s probably wishful thinking, but they don’t seem to absorb hardly ANY oil!

  28. These look so amazing – I shared on Facebook. I need to make these! Yum – hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  29. cheri says:

    I’m a big fan of falafel as well, and these look delicious. I have never made anything like this before, but it certainly seems like it is worth it.

  30. Velva says:

    I love falafel. It has never occurred to me to make it myself. I suddenly feel inspired. Thanks for shaing it with us.

    Velva

  31. Kathy says:

    Oh your falafel looks so tasty! I have never tried making them but every time I see them on a menu I have to have some! Love the vibrant color of yours!

  32. Eileen says:

    Such a classic meal, and so good! I’ve never made my own falafel at home–clearly this needs to go on the list. :)

    • Sue says:

      This is one of the easier recipes I’ve made, in addition to being the best. You don’t have to pre-cook the chickpeas so the process is pretty simple.

  33. Before I even opened up my feed reader this morning, I put falafel on my meal plan for next week. I love the idea of the fresh herbs in the mixture.

    My husband is a purist when it comes to falafel since his deployment in Iraq but I’m going to try the herbs on him and if he doesn’t like there will be more for me. :)

  34. True story: One time my guy and I were driving home from a very long run at a local trail. I had gone longer than he did and was starving. This was right around the time that he’d been begging for my permission to buy a new bike. I was dying for some falafel and he refused to stop until I agreed to the bike. Later, when my belly was full and happy, I regretted the decision made in hunger.
    Anyways, I bet that won’t be happening again. This falafel looks AMAZING. It looks amazing enough for me to get over my deep fear of deep frying. I can’t wait to try these. YUM.

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