Falafels are deep-fried fritters made with fava beans/chickpeas(more popular) is an ancient food that has its origin in Egypt. Now it is widely known as Middle Eastern food, traditionally served in Pita(a kind of Middle Eastern Flatbread), or can be eaten as a snack or appetizer with salads, hummus or yogurt dips. I was introduced to Falafel when a Mediterranean joint opened in a local mall in the area where I lived in Mumbai. I had it in Pita sandwich and I remember that I didn't like much, the whole thing gave me an aftertaste maybe the oil in the Hummus, something was there that I never thought of trying it again. Then during my bakery course when I learned to make Pita, I tried my hand at making Falafel and Hummus at home. Since then I make these quite often. Hummus is great to have with chips, crackers, or even as a spread on toasts or paranthas for quick lunch or afterschool snack for kids. I use Falafel as patty for making burgers/sliders and sometimes Pita sandwiches or we have it just like that with mint yogurt dip or hummus.
It takes not much time in making falafel if you have pre-soaked chickpeas in hand. Just grind Chickpeas coarsely in a chopper with onions, cilantro/coriander, parsley, garlic few spices, add some chickpea flour for binding, make the balls/patties and fry or bake it. If you are running short of time to soak chickpeas overnight, take the shortcut method.. boil enough water in a pan add the chickpeas with a tsp of salt to it. Switch off the flame and keep the pan covered for 2-3 hrs.Prefer using the unboiled chickpeas as using boiled chickpeas can make the grinded mixture too mushy to bind.
Falafel patties can also be baked if you want to avoid deep frying. For that bake the patties at 350°F for 30-40 mins, until the outside becomes brown. Will be soon updating recipe for baked falafels.
Let's get the ingredients and make the falafel.. the favorite street food of Middle East.
For Falafel Balls/Patties
Chickpeas/ Garbanzo beans--100 gms
Coriander/Cilantro-- 1/2 cup
Coriander Powder--1 tsp,
Chickpea flour for binding-- 1/2 cup
Juice of half Lemon
Olive oil--2 tsp
Oil for Frying
Soak 100gms of chickpeas overnight or at least for six hrs. After the soaking time, drain water completely from chickpeas. The weight of the chickpeas will increase due to water absorption. It will around 200gms if you soak chickpeas overnight.
Take chickpeas, chopped onions, cilantro/coriander, parsley, garlic, green chilli, coriander powder, salt in a blender and grind everything coarsely. Don't grind it to a smooth paste, also it should not have big chunks.
Take out the mixture in a bowl, add the chickpea flour and mix.
Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and keep the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This step is optional, you can shape the falafel balls/patties immediately and fry. Refrigeration helps to firm up the mixture and fully absorb the flavors.
Shape into balls/patties. If you feel the mixture is too mushy to be binded into patties, add some more chickpea flour to it and refrigerate after shaping the patties.
Deep fry or shallow fry falafel balls/patties and serve with yogurt dip/ hummus just like that or as a filling in pita/ burger buns with lettuce, onions.
For Yoghurt-Mint dip--
1 Cup thick Yoghurt
1-2 tbsp mint-coriander/ coriander chutney
Mix together the two add some salt to taste.
I made these falafel sliders with mint and yogurt dip, a nice change from the regular veggie /aloo tikki burgers.
Slider Buns/ Dinner Rolls as required
Onion Thinly sliced
Mint Yoghurt Dip
Hummus or Tzatziki*
For assembling the Sliders:
Split the bun/dinner roll in two and warm it on the griddle or a non-stick pan.
Layer the bottom part with lettuce, falafel patty/ball, thinly sliced onion and top it with mint-yogurt dip and cover it with the top part.
If you haven't tried making falafels at home, make these now and treat yourself. They may seem to a difficult task but in fact are really very easy to prepare. Prepare in large batches for your parties and get-togethers. Stuff into pita/mini buns or even in your naans and treat yourself to Mediterranean delight. These can be frozen for a month, but then why to store when you can make a fresh batch in minutes.
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