Remember that week in April where London experienced summer? I hardly do…crazy to think that was only a fortnight ago and now it is pouring with rain, windy and just plain miserable – on 2 May. But apparently climate change isn’t real…
Anyway! Going back to that wonderful week of sunshine, I had one of my oldest friends over for dinner and as she is a vegetarian, I wanted to cook up something that wasn’t just your bog standard pasta dish, or grab a quick pizza. She’s also Indian (her mother is an insane cook), so any form of curry was out of the window. Instead, I opted for a Middle Eastern meal including homemade Hummus, Couscous with roasted vegetables and homemade Falafel!
I must admit, it was my first attempt at making Falafel and after hiking through the internet for a recipe, I stumbled across one by Tori Avey, which to me, combined all the flavours I would expect from a Falafel.
Now, as I am still in the process of settling in my new flat, my accessibility to appliances is slightly limited, so I used a small hand blender, with the processing attachment for this recipe – take note that this will double your prep timings at least. If you can get your mits on a normal size food processor it will save you SO MUCH TIME! This also meant that I was adding in my spices bit by bit, trying to keep the batches as even as possible – not ideal but what I did at the end was add one extra batch of all spices and seasoning to the overall mix and gave it a good stir. Personally, I think I put too much Cayenne, but my guests said the heat was on point (just me then….).
Also, this is not something that you can just make off the cuff – you need to soak your dried chickpeas overnight, so be warned. I read on many websites that using the ones already in water just don’t work as well as dried, so just remember to plan ahead. You also need to let the mix set for a good 2-3 hours, so try and make the mix in the morning and fry them either later for lunch or even better for dinner.
Anyway, enough chit chat – here’s the recipe which I have slightly alternated to my taste!
Prep time: 12 hours
Cook time: 40 minutes
450g dried chickpeas
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3-6 garlic cloves
1.5 Tbsp plain flour or chickpea flour
2 Tsp Cumin seeds
1 Tsp ground coriander
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of ground cardamom (if you can get hold of it)
Vegetable oil for frying
Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let them soak over night. You will see that the grow once soaked so you will have lots of chickpeas in the morning!
Drain and rinse the chickpea well and add to your food processor. If like me, you only have a baby one, then use a cup measurer and do about 1 cup chickpeas and split up the required spices evenly.
Add the chopped onions, parsley, garlic gloves, flour and all spices. Go easy on the salt at this stage, you can add more later if needed.
Pulse all ingredients together until a rough, course mix forms. Every so often, scrape down the sides of the processor, pushing the mixture down the sides. Continue to process until the mixture is between the texture of couscous and a paste. The closer to paste, the easier it will hold together. Just don’t overdo it otherwise you will have Hummus!
Once the mixture is ready, pour into a large bowl, and stir through with a fork. You can add any final spices you want at this stage. Be sure to remove any large chickpea chunks that may have been missed!
Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for minimum 2 hours.
When you’re ready to fry, fill a deep frying pan with vegetable oil and heat slowly over a medium heat. The ideal temperature to fry falafel is between 182-190 degrees C (360/375 F). I just tested using a little piece of the mix and seeing when it was frying up nice but not too quick.
Meanwhile, form the falafel mixture into round balls or patties using wet hands (this is extremely important). I was using around 1.5-2Tbps of mix for mine but you can judge it yourself. They won’t stick firmly together, but once they start cooking the binding will happen!*
Once your oil is ready, do a test run with a single falafel in the centre and see how it cooks through. If the temperature if right, it will only take around 2-3 minutes each side. So test and gage it if you don’t have a thermometer.
You can then fry the balls in batches of 5-6. Keep an eye on them and turn them over carefully so you don’t burn yourself.
Once fried, remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen roll so any excess oil is soaked up.
Optional: When ready to serve, drizzle over some Tahini and sprinkle some extra parsley leaves.
Serve with pitta, hummus, couscous, dips of all kinds, salads, or just enjoy them on their own!
*If they just won’t hold, place the mix back into the processor and make it more paste like. You can also add more flour. If that doesn’t help, then if you can, add 1-2 eggs to the mix.
If you find that the falafels are too hard or crunchy – then it means that your mixture probably needs to be more paste-like – so this is a quick fix. Otherwise, it can also mean that your chickpeas are old 🙂
If you want to see the original recipes and some delicious alternatives, then head over to Tori’s page here: