Although these protein-packed chickpea fritters are classified as one of the national dishes of Israel. Falafel may have originated in Egypt, Lebanon, or Palestine. By the 1950s, Yemeni immigrants in Israel began to make falafel in the streets to earn a living. Selling it wrapped in paper, which gradually turned. This ancient dish into an early Israeli type of fast food.
Instead of chickpeas, fava beans can be used as an alternative to the Israeli variety. Filled with fresh or pickled vegetables and dipped in either hummus paste. Tahini dip, or a zesty, garlic-flavored yogurt sauce. Both in Israel and other Middle Eastern countries.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (don’t use canned chickpeas)
- 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
- 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped (about a one large bunch)
- 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (about a one large bunch)
- 1 small green chile pepper, serrano or jalapeno pepper
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- avocado oil for frying
HOW TO MAKE THE FALAFEL DOUGH MIXTURE
Soak your dried chickpeas. Overnight or for at least 8-12 hours. Note that the chickpeas will triple in size, so cover them with plenty of water. Then drain and rinse them.
Add all the ingredients to a food processor. Add the chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, green pepper and spices to a food processor. I recommend roughly chopping up the onion, herbs and pepper before adding. Pulse the food processor but do not blend completely. The final mixture should resemble coarse sand.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Then add the chickpea flour and baking soda, stir it together until it’s fully combined and cover with plastic wrap or a lid.
Place the bowl in the fridge. Chill the falafel mixture for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Shape your falafel. You can do this by hand, with a cookie scoop (which is what I use) or a falafel scoop. Decide if you’d like round balls or flatter patty shapes. The flatter shapes are better if you plan to pan fry or bake. Any shape can be used for deep frying. Form all your falafel and place on a plate.
- The night before, soak the dried chickpeas in water. Make sure the water covers the chickpeas by 2-3 inches, as they’ll triple in size.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to your food processor.
- Add the onion, parsley, cilantro, pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom and black pepper to the food processor and pulse several times until it resembles the texture of coarse sand.
- Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl and add the chickpea flour and baking soda. Stir together, then cover or add a lid.
- Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to one hour.
- Use your hands, an ice cream scoop or falafel scoop to form the falafel into balls or patties. If you find the mixture is too wet, you can add another tablespoon of chickpea flour. If it’s too dry and crumbly, you can add a teaspoon or two of water or lemon juice.
- Once the falafel are formed, you can cook them by your preferred method mentioned above.
- To deep fry the falafel, add about 3 inches of oil to a pot on medium heat. Heat the oil to 350F.
- Cook the falafel in batches (about 6-8 at a time) for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Use a skimmer to check the color of the falafel and make sure they don’t over cook. Then remove them to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Serve the falafel immediately, while warm and crispy on the outside.
HOW TO COOK FALAFEL – 3 DIFFERENT WAYS
How to Deep Fry Falafel: Heat about 3 inches of oil (I use avocado oil) in a pot on medium heat to 350F. Once the oil has reached temperature, gently drop 6-8 balls into the oil at a time. Let them cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden on the outside. Use a skimmer to the remove the falafel to a paper towel-lined plate.
How to Pan Fry Falafel: Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan (I prefer cast iron) on medium-high heat. Gently place the falafel in the pan and cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
How to Bake Falafel: Pre-heat your oven to 425F. Lightly spray or brush a baking sheet with oil. Place the falafel on the baking sheet, lightly spray or brush the top side with oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can also bake them on parchment paper or a silicone mat without any oil. They’ll just be slightly less crispy and golden.
Falafel is best served right after cooking, so it’s warm and crispy. They are deliciously served in gluten-free pita, wrapped in greens of lettuce or collar or covered with a simple green salad.