Really Delicious Falafel

This recipe is an amalgam of the falafel recipes 
from Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook and Adeena Sussman

It's the eighth night of Hanukkah and we have a last shot at eating something fried for the holiday. I re-learned something when I tried making these a couple of days ago (you are looking at a 2nd batch of falafel balls), which is sometimes the ingredient list & subsequent instructions really do make a difference in the final product. So a word of caution: do not try to substitute canned beans for the dry chickpeas in this recipe, it will not work.  This mean you have to plan ahead if you plan to make this recipe. The resulting falafel are not dry or cakey, which is often the case with pre-made frozen falafel balls. You can alter the spice mix to your liking, the constant for falafel are the chickpeas, onion, garlic, salt and cumin. 

Choreography: This recipe needs to be started a minimum of 10 hours before cooking. The actual cooking takes under an hour. 
  • Soak a 1 lb package of dried chickpeas  (garbanzo beans) for 10-24 hours
  • Blend everything in a food processor 
  • Fry, blot on paper towel and try not to eat the entire batch before the guests arrive 
  • Food processor (if you have an 8 cup or larger capacity, you'll be fine. If it's smaller, you'll have to process the beans in batches 
  • Colander 
  • Small saucepan or a deep fryer
  • Measuring spoons, cooking spoon to flip the falafel (if you are using a saucepan)
  • Small bowl to mix the spices 
  • 1 lb package dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo, Egyptian peas)
  • A large handful of Italian parsley (leaves and smaller stems)
  • A handful of cilantro (Optional: I don't ever use cilantro, but many people love the taste)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, cut into small chunks
  • 1 small-medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled 
Spice mix (combine in a small bowl):
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) - if you are using Mortons, use 3/4 T 
  •  1/8- 1/4 tsp chili powder. We use "GoldStone Farms," which means that it's made from the Thai and Jamaican chili's we grow in the garden - so I go very lightly as home made chili powder is generally hotter than the commercial type. 
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground corriander 
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • Neutral oil for frying 
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm water if needed for consistency of the mixture 

  1. Pour the beans into a large bowl, rinse, and cover with boiling water, so that the water submerges the beans and rests about 2 inches above the level of the beans. Cover and let rest for 10- 24 hours. You can check in several hours and add a bit of water if it looks like the beans are absorbing most of the water. To determine when the beans are ready, they will not soften completely, but you will be able to press your nail into the bean 
  2. Mix the spices and baking soda in a small bowl. Make sure to break up any baking soda lumps as you mix the spices
  3.  Pour half of the chickpeas into the food processor bowl with the garlic, onion, carrot , parsley and cilantro (if using). Add 1-2 Tbsp warm water if needed.  Process until it resembles course sand. Add the remaining beans and 1/2 of the spice mixture. Process again. Blend in remaining spice mixture, process until the spices are mixed in and transfer to a bowl. 
  4. The mixture should look like wet large grain sand. There should be no water puddling at the bottom of the bowl.  Take a tablespoon of the mixture and squeeze in your hand, it should hold together. If it doesn't form a ball, process until the pieces are finer. If this doesn't do the trick, try another 1 Tbsp of water. 

     5. Heat 2 - 3 inches of oil in a small sauce pan
     6. There is a small instrument specifically used to form falafel balls called a pal-ed falafel scoop. 
         If you do not have one, use a tsp to measure out about 1.5 tsp of mix into your hand. Squeeze 
         into a ball and ease into hot oil. 
      7. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then rotate so that the entire surface is cooked and turns golden. Drain. 
      8. Don't crowd the falafel balls in the oil, continue until all of the mix is used up. You will be able
          to make approximately 36 pieces. 
       9. Serve with tahina sauce (which is not the same thing as tahina paste in a jar or bottle), in a pita
          with salad and pickles or with as a snack with a a sauce like spicy mayonnaise (mayo mixed               with garlic and a bit of hot pepper in adobo sauce).

Enjoy hot or at room temperature. The falafel can be wrapped and refrigerated for a day or two. You can double wrap and freeze for a week or two as well. 

Another  "chickpea" recipe you might be interested in: Chicken Meatballs with Chickpeas and Chickpeas and Zucchini


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