Back in 1998 when my son David was a senior in high school, he worked at a vegetarian restaurant called “Shakespeare” (now known as “Epicure”). The name changed, but the food is still amazing! This was perfect because my son was a vegetarian, so…win,win 🙂 !!! That was the first time I had falafel.
I have been eating a lot of Mediterranean food lately so, of course, I needed to test and try several different recipes. I’m really happy with this falafel recipe! It can be made three different ways, baked, fried and sauteed. The fried falafel turned a delicious dark and crunchy brown with a fluffy interior. I used a thermometer and heated the oil to 360 degrees. My husband prefers the fried and sauteed, but I am really satisfied with the baked falafel.
Let’s get started!
- 2 cups dried chickpeas (Do NOT use canned or cooked chickpeas)*
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
- 1 small onion, cut into large chunks
- 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- pinch of cardamom
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- Vegetable oil for frying (grapeseed, sunflower, avocado, canola, and peanut oils all work well)
One day in advance… Place the dried chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl filled with water to cover the chickpeas by at least 2 inches.
*You will need to soak dried chickpeas overnight for your falafel to turn out right; canned beans are too tender and contain too much moisture to achieve the right consistency. Don’t cook the beans, because this will result in a mushier and denser falafel, which is not the proper texture.
Soak chickpeas for 18-24 hours. They are going to more than double in size. When ready, drain and rinse the chickpeas completely. Pat them dry (or you could use your salad spinner, like I did).
Add the chickpeas, herbs, onions, garlic and spices to the large bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse all ingredients together until a rough, coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the processor periodically and push the mixture down the sides. Process until the mixture is somewhere between the texture of couscous and a paste. You want the mixture to hold together, and a more paste like consistency will help with that.
Transfer the falafel mixture to a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to cook.
Just before frying, add the baking powder and sesame seeds to the falafel mixture and stir with a spoon.
Scoop the falafel mixture and form into patties (½ inch in thickness each). It helps to have wet hands as you form the patties. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (or large platter).
Fill a medium saucepan 3 inches up with oil. Heat the oil on medium/high until it reaches 360 degrees or bubbles softly. Carefully place the falafel patties in the oil. Let them fry for about 3 to 5 minutes or so until crispy and medium brown on the outside. Avoid crowding the falafel in the saucepan, fry them in batches if necessary.
Place the fried falafel patties on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
If you would like to bake your falafel, you want to set your oven to 375°F, oil your baking sheet and place it in the oven to preheat, and then, once everything is hot, add your falafel and let them bake until crisp on the bottom, about 10 minutes, and then flip and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until crisped all over and cooked through. Once they’re done cooking, transfer them to a paper-towel so that any excess oil is absorbed. Sprinkle them with a little salt and get ready to dig in!
You can pan fry the falafel too. Place the falafel in a pan drizzled with a little oil (just a few tablespoons will do the job). Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking process. Drain and sprinkle with a little kosher salt.
This recipe makes 12 (1/4 cup) patties, but you can roll them into small scoop size balls too. You can freeze unbaked patties.
Serve falafel hot next to other small plates (tzatziki and cucumbers…yes, please); or assemble the falafel patties in pita bread with tahini sauce or hummus, arugula, tomato and cucumbers. Enjoy!
I hope you make this mouthwatering falafel, and if you do, let me know. I would love to hear from you and see your pictures. Tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .