Falafel – The secrets to making perfect falafel at home

From making a number of falafel recipes I have figured out some very important steps to making good falafel at home…

  1. You should always use dried and not canned chickpeas (soaked overnight).
  2. The solid parts of the mixture need to be minced, NOT food processed or they just don’t cook right (think crunchy outside but a sort of sloppy uncooked meat like inside) – use the finest mincer attachment.
  3. Cooking in advance gets the best results – falafels should be deep fried for a 3 minutes or so until golden brown to give crunch and colour BUT can then be frozen or put in the fridge and later (after bringing back to room temp) finished either in a deep fryer or an oven – the oven is the easiest way to get the middles cooked properly and get the right texture throughout.

Follow these three things and the recipe itself can be played with until your heart is content.


The following recipe has been adapted from the King of Falafel & Shawarma, a van selling street food in NYC. I have reduced the cardamom as it was quite overpowering and upped some of the other spices.

Ingredients

  • 500g dried chickpeas (soaked overnight in plenty of water)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • A small/medium bunch of parsley and coriander

Spice Mix (blend this before adding to break down the cardamom pods)

  • 1 tbsp. ground dried turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. ground dried paprika
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) red hot dried pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Method

Very simply, put the first 5 ingredients through a mincer with the finest attachment. Then stir in the blended spice mix and baking powder.

Form into balls about the size of walnuts and deep fry for 3-4 minutes at 160c-170c – make sure they are completely submerged or they may burst.

Once done you can put straight in the oven (180c for 3 mins) or allow to cool until you are ready to serve them and then put in the oven to finish cooking (180c for 4 mins).

Serve with pittas/flatbreads, a cucumber and tomato salad, lettuce and a mix of sauces such as yogurt, hot sauce and tahini sauce.


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