Homemade falafel is an easy, healthy and cheap vegan dish. You just have to start yesterday.

I prefer falafel with tzatziki, but that makes a terrible pic, so here is a brighter version.

Making Falafel is counterintuitive, because you don’t cook these hard little bean things. You soak it in cold water for 24 hours, then blitz in the food processor with loads of herbs, spices, garlic and onion. Then you deep or shallow fry these until they look like tough meatballs, but green on the inside.

Two cups dried chickpeas
2 Tbsp dried cumin (or more)
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 Medium red onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
1 & 1/2 cups parsley, chopped (really)
1 cup coriander leaves chopped (and/or fresh dill)
1/2 cup mint leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Shake of smoked paprika (optional)
2 tsb salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
Squeeze of lemon juice

Vegetable oil to fry in

Rinse chickpeas, put in bowl and cover around 4cm with cold water.
Cover with clingwrap or a clean plate on the bowl and leave in a cool place for 24 hours. The chickpeas will double in size.
Discard the water and rinse.
Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a medium hot pan until fragrant, then bash fine in a mortar or spice grinder.
Mix all the ingredients and pulse in a food processor until fine, but not pulp. About the size of course breadcrumbs. The mixture will be quite green, with bits of white chickpea visible. It should hold together in a ball if squeezed.

Form into balls about 3cm in diameter. You can either flatten these into thick patties or leave round.

Homemade falafel
Fry until brown. You can see the texture of the mix in this pic.

Shallow or deep fry until brown both sides. The oil must be hot enough so your falafel does not absorb oil. Drain on paper towel and eat hot or cold, as is with your favourite dip or in a pitta bread.

This recipe is based on the recipe by Stephanie Alexander in her excellent The Cook’s Companion. Published by Lantern in 2004.

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