The Best Falafel is crispy on the outside, a brilliant emerald green on the inside, with tons of flavor and a great fluffy texture!
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.
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.
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.
- 3 cups dried chickpeas
- 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
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- pinch salt
- water for thinning
- 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 about 1 lb. Note, you will have some leftover chickpeas.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Drain on paper towels.
- 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.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Olives, Lemons & Za'atar
I hope you enjoy this, we sure did!