Falafel - Middle Eastern Street food!

Street food at its best!

I'm going to start my making a bold statement - I ADORE falafel, I could eat it week in, week out and not get sick of it.

Its my favourite street food, I ate so much of it when I lived in the middle east I'm amazed I didn't turn into a chickpea!

Buying it from a street stall in the souks, the falafel still burning hot and crunchy, wrapped in a super soft flatbread with pickled carrots, salad, cooling yoghurt and a kick from some spicy hot sauce was an absolute joy. It was about 12dhs (less than £2 at the time!) and was jam packed!

Making your own falafel is very easy, people think its hard as to make them properly you have to start the process the night before, but trust me, its well worth it.

You'll need a food processor for the below. and, for the most part, its a case of just chuck in and go!

I've put my tips at the bottom of the page too!


Note: best eaten hot and fresh!


Recipe

Makes about 12 falafel dependent on the size you go for


125g dried chickpeas - soaked overnight in water

1 medium onion

1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic

Handful fresh parsley

Handful fresh coriander

1 Teaspoon ground coriander

2 Teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoon of gram or plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoon sesame seeds

Salt



1- The night before!

Wash and drain 125g dried chickpeas - rinse them 2-3 times under cold water to remove any dirt. Then place into a bowl and cover completely (at lest 3 times the volume of chickpeas) with room temperature water and leave out overnight to soak.



2 - On the day

Roughly cut the onion and pop into a food processor with the garlic and pulse till roughly chopped, then add the parsley and fresh coriander and pulse again.

3 - Add the chickpeas to the processor with a squeeze of lemon juice and blitz it until it forms a coarse paste. You want the mixture to get blended but not overly soft and mushy.

4 - Add in the ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, flour, baking powder and sesame seeds along with a good amount of salt (about 1/2 - 2/3 teaspoon) and a sprinkling of pepper.

Pulse, then tip out into a bowl and make sure its all mixed together.

5 - Fill a saucepan with sunflower oil and whilst that's heating up shape the falafel. I shape them as I would if I was making meatballs, using slightly damp hands I shape them into little balls and then flatten them slightly - ideally you wont want them any bigger than about the size of a golf ball or they will burn on the outside before they've had a chance to cook inside.

6 - Deep fry in the oil for about 2-3 minutes till the outside is browned and crisp and remove onto some kitchen towel to drain.


Enjoy them hot with a nice fresh salad and yoghurt or tahini as they are, or wrapped in a warm pitta!





My Top tips!


ALWAYS use dried and soaked chickpeas - some recipes will say its fine to use tinned, and I'm sure they will taste OK, but if you want really good falafel, just put the time in and plan ahead.


These can be frozen un-fried, simply make into balls and freeze them on a flat baking sheet, once frozen just pop into a bag and fry straight from frozen - I always do a double portion and freeze half.


Eat them right away, whilst the mixture can be made up to 1-2 days in advance, they shouldn't be cooked in advance. These are much more delicious eaten fresh out the pan.

Standard flour can be used but Gram flour is good if anyone is GF.





This is perfect with a Middle Eastern Fattoush Salad, its a sharp tangy salad with crisp baked pitta and full of crunchy goodness!