Falafel the (mostly) traditional way

Falafel with salad and couscous

There are loads of recipes out there for falafel, but many of them use tinned chickpeas. However, the traditional way to make falafel is with uncooked beans, soaked in water, then ground to a pulp with onion, spices and parsley, then formed into patties and deep fried until crisp.

Mark Bittman has a traditional recipe for falafel in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The recipe (posted below) is good, but a little finicky. When he says to “pulse the [soaked] beans until smooth” in a food processor, he really means “run the food processor as long as you can without burning out the motor”. You want to pulse the beans for as long as your food processor can handle, scraping the sides along the way. It’s a lot like making nut butter – pulse and scrape, pulse and scrape.

The other change is in the cooking. Bittman’s recipe follows the traditional technique of deep frying, but when I tried this, the falafels were WAY too oily. They do need some oil to make them tasty, but an oil-sponge is not what I was after. I discovered that a thin layer of oil in a non-stick pan works just as well, and I was even able to make a couple larger falafel “burgers” that I look forward to trying on a bun with all the fixins.

When I finally got the hang of it, the falafels were awesome – really tasty with couscous, lots of fresh salad, greek yogurt and spicy tomato sauce. Not only are they healthy balls of beany goodness, but they’re also super cheap to make as Leigh shows us on Cheap Healthy Good. Just a $1.98 for the whole batch – how awesome is that? Leigh’s blog post has some more useful notes on Bittman’s recipe and is well worth reading if you’re looking to make falafel the traditional way.

Now, a short break from ball talk to Monday’s breakdown of food and fitness:


  • Gym: 20 minutes of uphill run/walking, stretch, 3 sets – 6 reps – 60kg leg presses, 3 sets – 8 reps – 20kg assisted pullups, 2 sets of 20 lunges w/ 5kg freeweights, 3 sets – 8 reps – 10kg dumbbell rows, 10min row machine, stretching and some sit-ups on the balance ball

  • Breakfast: 50g muesli, 100g Yeovalley Natural yogurt, 1/2 banana, ~10 grapes, coffee

  • Lunch: Peppers stuffed with couscous and butter beans with baked mushrooms and tomato sauce and purple sprouting broccoli (leftovers unite!)

  • Snack: Apple slices with cottage cheese

  • Dinner: Falafel and couscous with lots of salad, greek yogurt and spicy tomato sauce




Breakfast

50g muesli, 100g Yeovalley Natural yogurt, 1/2 banana, ~10 grapes, coffee

Muesli with yogurt and fruit

Lunch

Peppers stuffed with couscous and butter beans with baked mushrooms and tomato sauce and purple sprouting broccoli (leftovers unite!)

Stuffed peppers and mushrooms with purple sprouting broccoli

Snack

Apple slices with cottage cheese

Apples and cottage cheese

Dinner

Falafel and couscous with lots of salad, greek yogurt and spicy tomato sauce

Falafel with salad and couscous




Falafel




1 3/4 c dried chick peas
1 small onion, quartered
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 “scant” tsp cayenne pepper (I used a little less than 1 tsp and it came out quite spicy!)
1 c chopped parsley or cilantro (I used parsley)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Neutral oil (I used grapeseed)






Soak chick peas in lots of water for 24 hours.

Drain chickpeas. Add to food processor with garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, cayenne, parsley, salt, black pepper, baking soda, and lemon juice. Pulse until as smooth as possible. Be patient! Let the food processor do its thing. You can pour 1 or 2 tablespoons of water in if necessary, but try to keep mixture as dry as possible (I didn’t need to add water when I made this). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Put a thin layer of oil in a nonstick pan and put it on a medium-high heat is the way to go.

While the pan is heating, form the falafel mix into patties, as small or as large as you want. Pan-fry until golden brown on both sides, adding more oil to the pan if the falafel starts to stick.

Serve with your favorite falafel accoutrements. Some tasty suggestions: pita bread, couscous, salad, tzatziki, spicy tomato sauce.



4 thoughts on “Falafel the (mostly) traditional way

  1. Alison

    Interesting not cooking them before pureeing them, huh. I need to do real falafel soon not my cheating chick pea patties, they needed more flavour, but for a 5 minute supper they worked pretty well, except falling apart :P

    It looks awesome.

    Reply
  2. Jes

    Beautiful falafels and good to know about processing them for forever–I’ve never been able to get the texture right. Now to see how my processor holds up!

    Reply
  3. Monica

    Having said all this, someone on Twitter said he LIKES to keep his mix crumbly so it has more texture. He also deep fries his in 2″ of oil! So, different strokes for different folks, right? Good luck… let me know if you give these a try and how they turn out. :-)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>