Whether eaten alone as a quick snack, or eaten in a delicious pita sandwich, they are a common street food found in a string of Middle Eastern countries. The croquette-style balls are regularly eaten as part of meze, and sometimes used as part of Iftar (breaking the fast) during the month of Ramadan. Falafel became so popular that McDonald’s adopted it as part of its Egyptian menu and created the ‘McFalafel’.
How to make falafel
This recipe, according to Inspired Taste, is both vegan and gluten-free.
Dried chickpeas – This recipe recommends using soaked, dried chickpeas to produce the best falafel.
It read: “Soaked, dried chickpeas will make the best falafel. The taste is so much better and the texture is completely different. For the best and most authentic falafel, dried chickpeas are your friend.”
Onion and garlic – This recipe recommends a generous use of onion and garlic.
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The recipe read: “We’ve used scallions (spring onions), yellow onion and shallots to make falafel. Use what you have, just keep in mind gif you have an especially strong flavoured onion, you might want to cut back slightly or deflame them.”
Fresh herbs – For this aspect of the recipe, Inspired Taste wrote: “We adore the combination of parsley, cilantro and mint for this.
“You can, however, just use one or two herbs if that’s all you have access to.”
Dried spices – Don’t hold back when adding the spices, the more the better.
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Inspired Taste wrote: “We add ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cardamom, as well as cayenne pepper.
“In addition to the spices, we add a generous amount of salt and some ground black pepper.”
Baking powder – The recipe said: “We include baking powder as an optional ingredient because you can absolutely make amazing falafel without it.
“That said, if you have it in the kitchen, adding a little baking powder makes the centre of the falafel just a little bit more tender, airy and light.”
Method: Soak the dried chickpeas: This step is the most simple part. Add dried chickpeas to a large bowl and cover with a few inches of water.
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Set the bowl aside and let the beans rehydrate until they grow to triple in size. This takes a while, so it’s recommended you do it the night before you plan to make falafel.
This can also be down two days in advance by draining the beans, and then keeping them covered in the fridge.
Process all the falafel ingredients: Roughly chop the onion and spring onion. Add them to a food processor with chickpeas, garlic, herbs, spices, salt and pepper.
Pulse until the mixture is chopped small, but remove from power before it is completely smooth.
Cover the falafel mix: The falafel mix needs to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes before it is ready to use.
Other recipes call for chilling falafel for two hours, but since this one does not use tinned chickpeas or flour, only 15 minutes are needed.
If it works better with your schedule, however, the mixture will be fine in the fridge for a much longer period of time.
Form the balls: This recipe makes around 18 falafel.
Scoop around 1-1/2 tablespoons of the mix and press in into a ball with the palms of your hands. This step can be a bit fiddly, but is easy enough.
Cook the falafel: For the most authentic and crispy falafel, fry the balls in about 3/4 inches of oil.
When the falafel is cooked, it should be golden brown on both sides and feel dry to the touch. It should still have a little bounce when pressed in the middle.
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