Falafel are deep fried patties that are usually made from ground garbanzos or chickpeas and/or fava beans.
This is probably not the traditional falafel recipe, but I can tell you that it takes no time to make and it is way better than any falafel you have had at any commercial place. Traditionally, falafel is a street food and I have always liked it – particularly in Europe you can get it in major cities on the street in a little pocket with white sauce and certain crispy veggies. Here, however, you can adjust the flavors of your homemade falafel while also ensuring that the creation process involves less use of fat and not deep frying, just shallow frying. Homemade falafel is the best!
Falafel requires a little preparation, but not a large amount of time with that actual preparation. The first thing to do in order to make excellent falafel is to use dried garbanzo or fava beans and let them soak overnight. If you use canned beans the mixture won’t bind the same way as using the dry, uncooked beans. The key is to process the beans while they’re raw and canned beans have already been cooked.
If you prefer to use the canned beans, no judgments here. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just keep in mind that the texture will be different and they probably will be more difficult to handle. You may have to add some other components like flour to make them bind. I used flour and baking powder either way to make them fluffier and lighter.
I really love the mixture of onions and leeks, it makes the flavor of the falafel a little sweet and sophisticated in my opinion, and with the touch of lemon it takes them to another level.
You can try to cook a tsp of the mixture to test the flavors and adjust the seasoning and ingredients to your preference before finishing and forming the patties – I always do this when making meatballs.
I served it in a mediterranean platter with lemon, cucumber, quinoa and olives and a drizzle of sour cream tzatziki. My husband had them in sandwiches with hummus with pesto, lettuce, cucumber, homemade tapenade (soon to be on the blog!). My hummus with pesto is loaded with lemon and the combination of both was out of this world!
I haven’t tried to bake the patties yet. I want to try it just to see if I can make them even lighter.
I love the fact that they are completely vegan though and absolutely divine!
Here’s what you need to make these guys:
Yield: 12 patties
For the falafel:
1 cup of dried chickpeas
1 tbs of tahini
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of lemon zest
4 tsp of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
(or 2 cups fresh Italian parsley and 2 cups of fresh cilantro)
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 leek (white part only), chopped
6 tbs of all-purpose flour
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of seasoning for falafel *
(you can mix 1 tsp of cumin with 1 tsp of coriander)
(I used this one)
Vegetable oil to fry the falafel
1-2 tbs of sesame seeds
For the sour cream tzatziki
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cucumber, shredded
2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
salt and black pepper
Place the garbanzo beans in a big bowl. Add 3 cups of water and 1 tsp of baking soda. Let the beans soak overnight.
Rinse the garbanzo beans and pat them dry with a paper towel. Place them in the bowl of the food processor. Add the parsley, minced garlic, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, onion, leek, cumin and spices. Pulse the processor a few times until you obtain a coarse mixture (with some texture). Add the baking powder and gradually start adding the flour until you can form a ball and the mixture won’t stick to your hand (you should adjust the amount of flour depending on the amount of moisture of the balls). Add the sesame seeds and mix them into the mixture with your hands.
You can use a spoon for falafel or a cookie cutter and fill it with the mixture to form the patties. Place the patties on a baking sheet and refrigerate covered for 30 minutes to 4 hours before frying them. You can refrigerate them overnight.
Place the vegetable oil in the pan – up to about 3/4 of an inch. Let the oil warm up and depending on the size of your pan, place 3 – 4 patties and cook for about 3 minutes and then turn them over, until they are golden brown.
Sour cream Tzatziki
Whisk the sour cream and the lemon in a small bowl. Add the grated cucumber, the garlic and salt and pepper to your taste. Stir and serve.