Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Over the weekend during a, "What should we have for dinner?" conversation, I hear, "Have you ever made falafel?" I have never even THOUGHT of making falafel! I love falafel, but it always seems like such an exotic, mystery combination of things that it never occured to me to dabble in falafel making.

When I told my mom what I was making she said, "You're making waffles for dinner?!" No mom, falafels. If you are a falafel virgin like my mother, they are basically a fried ball of spiced, chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, served in a soft pita bread with some crisp salad veggies and a spicy, garlicky yogurt sauce.

This exotic Middle Eastern favorite, seemed a little intimidating, so I consulted the Food Network website & found a recipe by Bobbie Flay that I was going to go with, but then I read all these comments by frustrated people who had tried it and had their falafel disintegrate when they put it in the oil. Then I saw another by Maria Ostrosky that had rave reviews. I think this one works so well because it has an egg & bread crumbs added to help hold it together. So I jumped in and I discovered it's no more complicated than making meatballs!

I took Maria's recipe, and substituted 2 cans of chickpeas instead of using dried beans that need to be soaked overnight, added some more spices, simplified things a bit and here you go:

Here's what you need:

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 3 green onions
  • a couple of garlic cloves
  • a handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 chopped seranno chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup bread crumbs

Here's what you do:

Drain chickpeas and put them in a food processor. Add green onions, garlic, parsley, cumin, salt, egg and seranno chili. Mix baking powder with water and add mixture to food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer mixture into a small bowl. Add bread-crumbs until mixture forms a small ball without sticking to your hands. Roll falafel mixture into ping - pong - ball sized balls and flatten slightly. I refrigerated mine for about an hour before frying to make sure they stayed together.

Pour about 2 inches of oil into a heavy saucepan and heat oil. You know the oil is hot enough when you put the end of a wooden spoon in and bubbles form around the handle. Slip a few at a time into the hot oil, making sure they don't stick to the bottom. Cook, turning, for about 6 minutes, or until the balls are a dark, even brown on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve with chopped tomato, cucumber, lettuce and Yogurt Sauce (below) in a soft flat bread.

For the Yogurt Sauce:

Don't even think of leaving this out, it's the best part!!

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon very finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A couple Tbs. fresh, chopped parsley
Mix together the yogurt, tahini paste, garlic and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper

So don't be afraid! Get your falafel on! You're gonna love it!!!

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to try them, you make 'em look so delish! Thanks for bringing us new ideas, especially when most dishes here in Hawaii are mostly Asian. I love Asian food, but something different is good too.
    I'll let you know how they turn out!