Is it passe to do a falafel post? I’m sure it is, but I feel it is my obligation and my right to post my favorite falafel recipe here. There is a lot of bad falafel out there, unfortunately. And if that is what you’ve tasted then you most likely think that they are hard, dry, tough to digest and perhaps lacking flavor. BUT if you have had good falafel then you know they can be a delicious, light (in density), crunchy, flavorful snack. Also, I just have to take a moment here to praise to garbanzo bean. It is an incredibly versatile legume and makes many an appearance on our table in the form of falafel, hummus, vegetarian patties, in stew, and in curries. Although I own more than one middle eastern cookbook, this recipe actually comes from Vegan With a Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and I think it is as good as the very best falafel that I have ever had from Falafel Devorah (sorry, no link here folks) in Pardess Chana, Israel (you should check in out if you happen to be in the neighborhood– just ask around, everyone will know where it is). I have no idea how Isa learned how to make falafel like a pro, but thanks to her a whole generation of punk-rock Brooklyn vegans can enjoy the real deal, and now so can you.
Falafel, from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Note: Isa pan-fries her falafel as opposed to deep frying, which works fine and is certainly a bit healthier. However, I do deep fry mine because that is what I am used to. I provide you with both methods here, so you can choose what you like best.
2 cups of cooked chickpeas, drained, or canned chickpeas, rinsed (I like to soak my chickpeas over night and then cook them until edible, but a tad al dente, that way, they hold up better when you are mashing/pureeing them with the other ingredients)
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 Tbs all-puprpose/whole wheat pastry flour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp salt
A few dashes black pepper
vegetable oil for frying (if you are deep frying you will need about 4 or 5 cups)
your choice of sides: pita, chopped tomato, cucumber, lettuce etc, and:
(follow link to ‘stuffed grape leaves’ post and scroll to bottom)
For the Falafel:
In a food processor combine the chickpeas and bread crumbs; pulse for about 30 seconds until the chickpeas are chopped. Add the remaining ingredients (through the back pepper) and process, scraping down the sides, until relatively smooth but somewhat coarse. The mixture should look fairly green from the parsley (you should test to see if it holds together by squeezing a bit in your hand, if it does not, you can add a tiny bit of water and process it into the mixture). Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least a half hour (You can also refrigerate the mixture overnight so that all you have to do the next day is shape and fry ’em).
Shape the batter into ~ 1-inch balls and then flatten into 2 inch diameter patties, if pan frying, or leave in little round shapes, if deep frying.
Heat about a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan (such as cast iron). Test the oil by throwing in a pinch of the batter, if the oil immediately bubbles up rapidly, it is ready. Cook the flattened patties in the oil in two batches, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon to a flattened paper bag (helps them stay crisp) or paper towels to drain.
For Deep Frying:
Heat the oil for deep frying on medium-high heat (if your oil is too hot the falafel will get very dark on the outside and will not fully cook on the inside) – I fry mine at about 350 ish, but here is a helpful link for frying. Fry the formed balls in small batches until the falafel balls are deep golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper bag or paper towels. Serve with your choice of sides.