Falafel

We had tried falafels a couple of times many years back, but never attempted to make them ourselves. I started trying out various recipes about 4/5 years back. They used to be a complete disaster – always splitting open when I would try them, or the taste was not quite right. So after trying a dozen different recipes, I have finally come to this, which is a combination of reading the labels of ready to make falafels and a recipe book. The trick to it is to make sure the consistency is right. There is a very good place to eat in Covent Garden (London) which does ‘just falafs’, where I had once tried a particular falafel, thats how I came  about adding a simple relish of carrot and beetroot for this recipe. Now I am happy with the combination of crunchy, tangy and sweet  with a hint of spice.

I find the best thing about falafels is that it has the main food groups, you have wheat, pulses, vegetables and dairy, a full combination for a vegetarian. That is why it is a good complete meal, excellent for picnics or to eat good food on the go.  This is a very good children friendly recipe also. To go with this I sometimes make a simple salad of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, with a simple dressing of lemon juice, black pepper, olive oil and ground cumin seeds.

Falafel

I mix the pulses – chickpeas & black eye beans, however you can just do it with one or the other if you like. Normally I make my own hummus, but sometimes if I am short of time then I buy the ready made ones.

Ingredients

Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours, plus overnight soaking time      Cooking time: 1 hr        Serves: 4

12 to 16 wholemeal or flavoured pitta

250g plain or flavoured hummus

450g black eye beans, soaked overnight

200g chickpeas, soaked overnight

1 medium onion

1 bunch coriander chopped

2 large cloves of garlic

25g plain, wholemeal or chickpea flour

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp soda bicarb

sunflower oil for frying

For the relish

1 small carrot grated

1 small beetroot grated

4 tbsp natural set yogurt

1 tsp ground cumin

For the salad

6 iceberg lettuce leaves finely shredded

2 tomatoes chopped into cubes

2 inch piece cucumber chopped into cubes

Method

1) Rinse and soak the chickpeas and black eye beans overnight in warm water. Following day drain and rinse them and place in a food processor and grind into a rough breadcrumbs consistency.

2) In a food processor grind the onion, garlic, coriander to a fine paste. Mix with the crushed chickpeas and black eye beans, adding the cayenne pepper, salt, soda bicarb and cumin powder. Gradually mix it all together with a little flour (add this as you require it), the mixture should be able to hold its shape yet still be soft.

3) In a bowl mix together the grated carrot and beetroot with the yoghurt and ground cumin seeds, set aside in the fridge until needed. Chop the salad ingredients, mix together and set aside until required.

4) Heat oil in a frying pan for shallow frying, and drop in the falafel mixture into the hot oil (you can either do this by hand or with a spoon), it should be about 2cm size balls. Fry for about 3/4 mins on medium heat, until they are golden brown on each side, remove with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on kitchen paper.

5) Warm the pitta bread as per the manufacturers instructions, cut open and spread a generous amount of the hummus. Place the falafel ball and then the relish, two more falafels and the salad, you are ready to serve them warm. Enjoy 🙂

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5 Responses to “Falafel”

  1. Dibs Says:

    Hello and thanks for Foobuzz friendship. As I read you about page, I could completely relate. I too love trying global cuisines, but they need to be vegetarian! I also want to ensure I don’t loose out all the traditional recipes. I therefore have two blogs – one for traditional, and the other fro my experiments(not frequently updated though!). I am sure going to try everything in this blog, one by one :-)))

    Kiran ~ Thanks for your message, we liked your site too. Will have to try some of your recipes, a few looked familar.

  2. Juliet Says:

    Hey! I love that you made your own falafel. We usually make ours with a mix, but this looks like a great (and better) alternative!

  3. Kiran Says:

    Thanks Juliet, I always feel that I should try and make things from scratch, that way you know exactly what goes into the meal. After getting the recipe right they are so easy to make that I don’t think you need ready mixes. Give it a go and tell me what you think.

  4. Raju Says:

    I love the idea of a colourful crunchy salad! Falafals is firm favorite with all age groups. When in a hurry I use canned chickpeas and butter beans for a crunchy creamy texture.

    Kiran ~ I like the idea of using the combination of those beans. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. Sajni Says:

    For those who may suffer from gastric & digestive problems due to pulses, a good option could be vegeterian kebabs made from maize meal, potatoes, peas & carrots – a slightly different twist to falafels – but scrumptious.. all in all the same concept, except the bhajias are substituted for kebabs!

    Shakespeare once said: “good digestion waits on appetite, and health on both” 🙂

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