Middle Eastern

Falafel (Chickpea Fritters)

falafel

a middle eastern delicacy, of blended chickpeas with fresh herbs, fried to perfection with a crisp outside and soft tender center

Falafel originated in Egypt, being made with a combination of fava beans among various spices and herbs. Other countries throughout the Middle East, including Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, adopted the recipe and began making the crispy treat with chickpeas or garbanzo beans. Garbanzo beans make the grunt of this recipe and provide a wide array of nutritional benefits. They provide slow-releasing carbohydrates which allow you to feel energized for longer periods of time. They help control blood sugar levels, and increase satiety so they are a good food to incorporate in your diet to improve weight loss. Their high fiber content can aid towards digestive health and they provide essential vitamins and minerals including folate, zinc among many more. Falafel can be eaten as a snack on their own dipped in hummus or added to pita bread to make a delicious falafel sandwich drizzled with Tahini Sauce.

Falafel

  • Servings: about 30 falafel balls
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Ingredients:

4 cups dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans (do not substitute with canned)
1 red onion, roughly chopped
3 stalks scallions, roughly chopped
½ red or green bell pepper, roughly chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped cilantro
5 cloves garlic, roasted
½ tablespoon baking powder
1 ¾ tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil for frying (can also use grapeseed, sunflower, avocado, canola, and peanut oils as well)

Directions:

  1. Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight. They will get larger in size.
  2. After soaking, drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Add them to a food processor along with the chopped red onion, scallions, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, garlic, baking powder, salt, cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Process until blended but not pureed, should be paste-like and easy to form into balls.
  3. Add mixture to a bowl, cover and add to the fridge for about an hour. When this is finished, begin forming balls with the mixture about the size of your palm, flattened just slightly. If you find that the mixture is not holding well and falling apart and sticking to your hands, add a sprinkle of flour or chickpea flour and try again. If the balls form easily, no need for the flour.
  4. Fill a skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. The ideal temperature to fry falafel is between 360 and 375 degrees F.
  5. Try to fry a test falafel in the center of the pan. If the oil is at the right temperature, it will take 2-3 minutes per side to brown (5-6 minutes total). If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafel will not be fully cooked in the center. Cool the oil down slightly and try again.
  6. When the oil is at the right temperature, fry the falafel in batches, not touching in the skillet, for 2-3 minutes or until each side is golden brown. Once the falafel are done remove them from the oil on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
  7. Serve inside pita bread, with cucumbers tomatoes, Alaa’s Pantry, Pickled Turnips and Beets and drizzle with Alaa’s Pantry, Lemon Tahini Sauce. Or serve alongside fresh vegetables and hummus. Enjoy!

Note: If your falafel is too hard/too crunchy on the outside you may have not processed the mixture enough. You can solve this by returning the chickpea mixture into the processor to make it more paste-like. Or the chickpeas you used were old and this can be solved by buying a fresher batch of dried chickpeas next time around.

Any leftover mixture can be frozen in the fridge until next use.

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