Falafel and Tabbouleh


Makes 25-30 small patties (serves 4 as a main course)
Adapted from Salwa Abuamsha’s recipe
Falafel are crispy fried chickpea or bean fritters, seasoned with herbs, cumin, and coriander seeds. Salwa serves hers with tahini sauce (1/2 cup tahini, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, and 1/2 – 1 tsp. salt) and tomato-onion salad. Falafel are delicious either on their own or in a pita sandwich. To make good falafel there are four important rules: 1. Don’t use canned or cooked chickpeas. 2. Soak dried chickpeas for at least 24 hours. 3. Process chickpeas until they’re very finely ground and easily hold together when formed into a ball. 4. Let dough rest before shaping it into patties. I like using a 1 Tbsp. scoop (size 60) to shape falafel, but some people prefer larger patties.

1/2 lb. dried chickpeas (1 1/3 cups) or peeled, dried fava beans
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. freshly ground cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. cayenne (ground red pepper)
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Soak chickpeas in water for at least 24 hours. Rinse and drain chickpeas; spread out on dishtowel to dry while you prepare remaining ingredients.

Put chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, freshly ground black pepper, baking soda, and baking powder in food processor. Process until chickpeas are thoroughly puréed and ingredients form a very smooth dough; this can take up to 5 minutes of processing (remember to scrape down sides of bowl from time to time).

Let dough rest for 30 – 60 minutes. Scoop out tablespoons of dough; if using a 1 Tbsp. (size 60) scoop, fill scoop with dough, then level off. Form dough into balls and then flatten slightly to form small patties. Let rest for 30 minutes. (Falafel may be made ahead to this point.)

Heat oil to 350°F. Fry falafel in four batches, turning them over when half done, until they’re golden brown (if you put too many in pan at one time, the oil’s temperature will drop and falafel won’t cook right). When done, place each batch on paper towels to drain; falafel cooks quickly so watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Serve immediately.

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