Falafel is one of my favourite fast foods. If I go to a market I usually seek out a falafel stand before I look for anything else. I was lucky enough during the Summer to visit the Ardmore Farmers Market on Sunday mornings where I had many helpings of falafel. I had lots of mini doughnuts too but that’s for another post!
My favourite place to grab lunch on the run when I’m working is Rocket Man East in the Winthrop Arcade. Their Mexican option with guacamole, salsa and jalapeno peppers is divine. I made a hastily thrown together version of this that you can see in the picture above. I didn’t have their fab flatbreads so I improvised with a tortilla wrap, my own salsa and guacamole and topped with sour cream. It did the job nicely.
I made many attempts at making Falafel over the years, with varying degrees of success. I made ones that collapsed as soon as they hit the pan and ones that tasted like cardboard. After reading a post on Canal Cook I realised that using dried chickpeas is the secret to them holding together better. It also makes them much cheaper to make. I now pack loads of fresh as well as dried herbs and spices into them so there is no chance of them lacking flavour.
Falafel are so versatile, you can serve them any way you like. Traditionally they are great in a pitta with a little hummus, tahini sauce and some tomato and cucumber salad. I like them as a salad as you can see below. You can also make bigger patties and make Falafel Burgers.
I’m sure I’ve bored enough of you already about this, but I’m delighted that my little blog has made it to the finals of the V by Very Irish Blog Awards! Some of my favourite food bloggers have also made it and I would love to go to the finals next week but sadly not this time. Good luck to everyone involved!
Useful tips & links:
- If using dried chickpeas this needs to be started the night before you want to make them as they need time to soak. Skip this step if using tinned chickpeas but you may need more flour so that they don’t fall apart as soon as they hit the oil.
- Some cultures use broad beans instead of or with chickpeas to make falafel. I prefer to just use chickpeas but experiment to see which you prefer yourself.
- I deep fry my falafel, I just think they have a crunchier coating this way. You can of course make them flatter and shallow fry them or bake them in the oven if you want a healthier option. Sometimes I coat them in sesame seeds before cooking as you can see in the pictures which helps with the crunch particularly if you are baking them.
- This makes quite a big batch or falafel, approx 24, but how many you get depends on the size you make them.
- I was going to mark ‘optional’ after some of the ingredients listed below. Honestly, all of the ingredients are optional. Don’t get too hung up on the spices, if you can’t get one or don’t like one just leave it out. Except for the chickpeas, they are pretty important here!
- On that note, add something you like yourself if I have not used it. For instance, tomato puree or even harissa go really well in Falafel.
- The falafel freeze really well. Once you have fried them let them cool before freezing. Reheat in a warm oven before serving.
- These are vegan. Use gram flour in place of plain flour and suitable baking soda to make them gluten free.
- Have a look at Jess’s beautiful Smoky Tomato Falafel on the aforementioned Canal Cook. Frances from The Honest Project has a couple of lovely Falafel recipes here and here.
Makes approx. 24 golf ball sized falafel
- 250g of dried chickpeas or 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas drained
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- A small bunch – approx. 25g – each of parsley and coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin
- ½ a teaspoon of chilli pepper flakes
- ½ a teaspoon of nigella seeds
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- The juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying
- If using dried chickpeas put them in a bowl and cover with plenty of water. Allow them to stand overnight to soak.
- When ready to make the falafel mix drain the chickpeas, whether using tinned or dried, and tip them into a food processor. Add all of the rest of the ingredients excluding the sesame seeds and blitz.
- Process the falafel mix until everything is well combined. You don’t want the chickpeas ground to a paste, coarse breadcrumbs is the texture you want here. The mix should be a lovely green colour from the fresh herbs. Taste the mix and add more seasoning or herbs and spices if you like.
- Using a spatula, scrape all of the mix into a large bowl, cover with clingfilm and put it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. If you can leave it there for 1-2 hours, that’s even better again.
- Heat a large saucepan with approx 5 cm deep of the oil to 180c or test by dropping a little mix into the oil, it should start to sizzle immediately.
- Wet your hands and roll little balls of the mix, pressing it together so that it will hold. If using the sesame seeds roll the falafel in it to coat them.
- Fry in batches, you don’t want to over crowd the pan or the oil will cool too much, for about 4-5 minutes or until golden and crunchy outside. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately or keep warm in a low oven while you fry the rest of them.