Chickpea Falafel is a crunchy, spicy and protein-rich food that is considered a staple Middle Eastern dish and popular street food around the world. Falafel brings together a combination of flavors from the herbs and spices added. Crispy on the outside and soft inside, falafels are commonly stuffed into pita bread along with hot sauce, tahini sauce, and a combination of tomato, lettuce, cucumber, onion, parsley, and yogurt.
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both along with fresh herbs and spices. Falafel is commonly served in a pita, which acts as a pocket or wrapped in a flatbread known as taboon. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze tray (assortment of appetizers).
Falafel is a protein-rich food and is considered a national food in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. The dish is now popular in many countries including North America. The increasing trend of vegetarianism has made falafel very popular among vegetarians and vegans, as an alternative to meat-based street foods. Falafel can now be found around the world as a replacement for meat and as a form of street food.
The main ingredient for Falafel is Chickpeas. Chickpeas are soaked overnight, then ground together with various ingredients such as parsley, cilantro, onion, chilies, and garlic. Spices such as cumin and coriander are added for flavor. The mixture is shaped into balls or patties and deep-fried.
I have tried multiple recipes and customized the ingredients and proportions to create perfect falafels that are loved by my friends and family. I am also sharing two other recipes on my website for “Tahini Sauce” and a simple “Mediterranean Salad”, which are the perfect complement to Falafel as a side or to make “Falafel Pita sandwiches”. Please click on these links for recipes.
- Recipe for Tahini sauce: Sesame seed dip for pita bread, or a topping for salads and sandwiches. A traditional dish from the Eastern Mediterranean, Israel, and parts of North Africa.
- Recipe for Tzatziki sauce/dip – A creamy, fresh, and aromatic dip from Mediterranean cuisine, that is made with fresh herbs, olive oil, spices, and yogurt.
- Recipe for Simple Mediterranean Salad Recipe for vegans – made with Olive oil, tomatoes, parsley, and cucumbers.
- Falafel gyros recipe – A traditional Greek dish adapted for vegetarians, falafels wrapped in pita bread with a topping of veggies and Tzatziki sauce.
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Chickpea Falafel – Authentic Mediterranean recipe
Falafel is a deep-fried aromatic patty made of Chickpeas, herbs, and spices. A staple food in many middle eastern countries, Falafel is now popular across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Section -1 : Prepare Chickpea mixture
- Soak dried chickpeas overnight in about 5 cups of water. When soaked overnight, the chickpeas almost double in size.
- Using a food processer, Grind together soaked chickpeas along with all herbs (Parsley, cilantro), vegetables (Onions, chilies, garlic) and spices (cumin, coriander, pepper, paprika).
- Run the food processor in intervals of 10-15 seconds. Make sure the mixture is spread evenly.
- Blend the mixture until it is grainy texture. Be careful not to grind your ingredients too finely. We are looking for a coarser mixture as it would give the right level of softness inside the falafels. If you grind the mixture too finely, you may end up with hummus that is not fit to make falafels or the texture might turn out to be hard when fried.
- Store the mixture for about 12 hours in the refrigerator. This will help the mixture hold together while frying.
- Do not add salt until just before frying
Section – 2 : Deep frying the Falafels
- Take the mixture stored in the refrigerator and mix the gram flour / Besan, sesame seeds, Baking powder and salt.
- Mix thoroughly. Taste the mixture and adjust for salt, spices and chili levels.
- Heat Oil in a flat bottomed frying pan.
- While the oil is heating, make falafel balls. I used a 2 Tablespoon measure to keep the balls of uniform size.
- Take the mixture in the palm of your hands and roll them into a ball. Then slowly flatten the balls by pressing. Round the edges carefully so that the falafels don’t break while frying.
- Add the falafels to the hot oil and let them fry for 2 minutes on each side. Fry the falafels until the outer color is light brown or chocolate.
- Serve the falafels with a side of Tahini sauce and Mediterranean salad.
- Serve falafels while they are hot and fresh.
- Falafels are best served with salads, hummus, tahini sauce, hot sauce and as a filling in pita bread sandwiches.