Welcome to my recipe for Middle Eastern falafel – a delicious and authentic street food that is enjoyed throughout the region! I’m Ehud, an Israeli chef with a passion for creating traditional Middle Eastern dishes, and today I’m excited to share my take on this classic Palestinian recipe.
Falafel is a popular dish that has been made in the Middle East for centuries. It consists of deep-fried balls made from chickpeas or fava beans, and is typically served in a pita bread sandwich with a variety of toppings, such as tahini sauce, pickled vegetables, and fresh parsley.
What makes my falafel recipe unique is the combination of spices and herbs that I use to give it an extra boost of flavor. With ingredients like cumin, garlic, parsley, and coriander, this dish is bursting with aromatic goodness that will leave you craving more.
Whether you’re looking to recreate a taste of the Middle East in your own kitchen or simply want to try something new and exciting, this falafel recipe is sure to impress. So let’s get started!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you ready to take your taste buds on a journey to the Middle East with this mouth-watering falafel recipe? Whether you’re a seasoned chef or new to cooking, homemade falafel is easy to make and offers an authentic taste that will have your family clamoring for more.
First and foremost, this recipe is made with authentic ingredients straight from the Middle East. Dried chickpeas soaked overnight, onions, garlic, fresh parsley and cilantro are just a few of the traditional ingredients used to create the perfect balance of flavors in this beloved street food.
Not only is falafel delicious, but it’s also incredibly versatile. You can serve it as a filling lunch inside pita bread with tahini sauce drizzled on top, or as an addictive snack paired with hummus and fresh veggies. Try crumbling it over a salad or serving it with eggs in the morning. The possibilities are endless!
Additionally, because this recipe calls for deep frying the chickpea fritters, you’ll be able to achieve that crispy exterior and fluffy interior – the hallmark of authentic falafel – without any added oiliness. With the right amount of baking soda and baking powder in the mixture, every deep-fried ball will be golden brown and perfectly crunchy on the outside while remaining light and fluffy on the inside.
Finally, making your own falafel at home is not only more affordable than buying it from a restaurant but also allows you to have control over what goes into every bite you take. This recipe is customizable so if you prefer more spices or herbs like cumin or hot pepper flakes, feel free to add them in.
With all these reasons on why thisfalafel recipe should be added to your list of favorite meals – there’s nothing left but for you to give it a try!
Before we dive into the steps for making delicious falafel, let’s first take a look at the ingredients list. To make authentic and traditional falafel, you will need:
- 2 cups dried chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 head of garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
If you’re in a rush or don’t have access to dried chickpeas, you can use canned chickpeas instead. Keep in mind that using canned chickpeas may result in a softer texture of the falafel.
For those looking for a different falafel experience or have dietary restrictions, fava beans can be used as an alternative to chickpeas. Additionally, salt and pepper can be added to taste depending on preference.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have discussed the ingredients, it’s time to start making our Falafel! Here is my step-by-step guide on how to make the perfect falafel:
Soaking the Chickpeas
The first step in making your own homemade Falafel is soaking your dried chickpeas overnight. This process makes the beans soft and easy to grind. Drain the soaked chickpeas and rinse them thoroughly with cold water. Set aside.
In a food processor, mix garlic cloves, onion, parsley, and cilantro until they are minced together but not pureed. You can use a blender if you don’t have a food processor. Add the soaked chickpeas and continue blending until they form a coarse meal texture.
Add some Middle Eastern flair to your Falafel by adding in spices! Mix in cumin, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Blend well to combine all ingredients.
Shaping The Falafel
Using your hands, shape the mixture into small balls or patties. I recommend using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each falafel ball/patty.
Frying The Falafel
We deep fry our falafels, but you can also bake them for a healthier alternative. In a fryer or large pot, heat up vegetable oil at 375°F (190°C) temperature. Once heated, start placing the formed balls/patties into the oil.Fry each ball/patty for 3-5 mins or until both sides turn golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pot while frying. Once done, remove them from oil with slotted spoon and place it over tissue paper to remove excess oil.
Once your falafels are done cooking, you can serve them in pita bread with some hummus and tahini sauce.
And that’s it! You now have a homemade batch of delicious Falafel ready to enjoy.
Substitutions and Variations
As with any recipe, there are always options to tweak the ingredients and make it your own. In the case of falafel, there are several substitutions and variations that can introduce new flavors and textures or cater to specific dietary needs. Below are some suggestions that you can try out:
– Use canned chickpeas: If you don’t have time to soak dried chickpeas overnight or prefer a shortcut, using canned chickpeas can still produce delicious falafel. Just be sure to drain the canned chickpeas and pat them dry with paper towels before using them in the recipe.
– Chickpea and fava bean mix: While traditional Palestinian falafel is made with only chickpeas, other countries like Egypt and Lebanon use a mixture of chickpeas and fava beans for their falafel. You can experiment with using half-and-half or more/less depending on your preference.
– Garlic and herbs: The basic flavor profile of falafel is cumin, parsley, and garlic, but you can play around with the herbs to add some variety. Fresh cilantro or coriander can lend a citrusy note, while dill or mint can provide a cooling effect.
– Baked falafel: For a healthier alternative to deep-fried falafel, you can try baking them in the oven. Simply form the patties as usual and brush them with oil before baking at 375°F for 10-12 minutes on each side.
– Gluten-free falafel: If you’re avoiding gluten, you can swap out regular flour for a gluten-free alternative like chickpea flour or almond flour to bind the mixture together.
– Vegan-friendly tahini sauce: To keep your meal fully vegan, opt for a tahini sauce made without yogurt or sour cream. You can whisk together tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth for a creamy and tangy accompaniment to your falafel.
Remember that cooking is all about experimenting and finding what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try out different substitutions and variations until you discover your perfect falafel recipe!
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving and pairing your falafel, there are so many scrumptious options to choose from. One of the most classic and traditional ways to enjoy falafel is by stuffing them inside a warm pita bread, along with some fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and tahini sauce. Not only is this combination delicious, but it also makes for a wholesome meal that is packed with flavors and nutrients.
If you’re looking for something a little different or more creative, falafels also make for perfect appetizers or snacks that can be served alongside dips like hummus, baba ganoush, or tzatziki. You can also try adding falafels as a topping on your salads or grain bowls for an added source of protein and texture.
If you’re planning to host a gathering or a dinner party with your friends and family, you can impress them by creating a falafel bar where they can choose their favorite toppings and sauces. This will not only add a fun and interactive element to your meal but also cater to different dietary preferences and restrictions.
To complement the Middle Eastern flavors of your falafel, consider pairing it with some refreshing beverages like iced tea, lemonade, or mint-infused water. Or if you prefer something stronger, try matching it with some Lebanese beer or wine for a complete culinary experience.
Whatever way you choose to serve your homemade falafels, be sure to savor every bite of these crispy and flavorful chickpea fritters that are soaked in centuries-old cultural food history.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Falafel is best served when it is fresh and crispy. However, if you are making a large batch or have leftovers, you can store them for later use. To ensure the falafel retains its crispiness and flavor, make sure to store it properly.
When making falafel ahead of time, it is recommended to prepare the mixture but not to form the balls until just before frying. The mixture can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
If you have leftover falafel that has already been fried, allow it to cool down completely before storing. Once cooled, place the falafel in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To reheat your cold or room-temperature falafel, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the falafel on a baking sheet and heat them in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until they are warm and slightly crispy again.
Alternatively, you can reheat your falafel in the microwave. Simply place them on a microwave-safe plate and heat for 20-30 seconds or until warm.
While reheating does bring back the flavors, nothing beats freshly made authentic Falafel that is crispy and hot from deep frying.
Tips for Perfect Results
Making falafel may seem straightforward, but as with any recipe, there are a few hints and tips that can help ensure perfect results every time. Here are some of my recommendations to guarantee your falafel turns out crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside, and bursting with authentic Middle Eastern flavor.
Firstly, it is important to take the time to properly soak your dried chickpeas. Soaking them overnight will make them easier to blend, and this will result in a smoother falafel mixture overall. If you are short on time and want to use canned chickpeas instead, be sure to drain and rinse them well before using.
For added crispiness in your falafel, try adding a combination of baking soda and baking powder to the mixture. This will give the falafel an airy texture on the inside while still maintaining a satisfying crunch on the outside.
When preparing your ingredients, be sure to chop your onions, garlic, parsley and cilantro finely before adding them to your food processor or blender. A good rule of thumb is that the smaller each ingredient is chopped, the more they will blend together into a cohesive mixture.
When it comes time for frying, use a deep pot or frying pan to ensure that the falafel balls are fully submerged in hot oil. This will allow them to cook evenly on all sides and maintain their shape. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan when frying as this can cause them to stick together.
To serve your falafel up like a pro, I recommend pairing them with warm pita bread, fresh veggies like sliced tomatoes and cucumber, and drizzling with some tahini sauce. Enjoy these delicious chickpea fritters as a snack or as part of a larger meal for a burst of authentic Middle Eastern flavors.
Now that you know everything about making the perfect falafel, it’s time to address any questions or concerns that might pop into your head as you begin working on this recipe. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about falafel and the cooking process.
Is falafel from Palestine?
If you’re looking for a mouth-watering snack, you can’t go wrong with falafel! This classic Middle Eastern street food is typically made from chickpeas and deep fried to perfection. Served stuffed in a pita pocket, it’s a vegan delight that’s both crunchy and satisfying. It’s commonly paired with tahini sauce and fresh salad toppings for an extra flavor boost.
What is Arabic falafel made of?
Popularly consumed in the Middle East, particularly in Levantine and Egyptian cuisines, falafel refers to a fritter that is ball or patty-shaped, and deep-fried. The dish is traditionally made from ground chickpeas, broad beans, or a combination of both.
What is falafel made of in Israel?
In contrast, chickpeas are commonly utilized in Israeli falafel, largely due to the prevalence of a genetic deficiency among Jewish individuals called G6PD that can be exacerbated by consuming fava beans. Chickpeas serve as an ideal alternative.
What is the primary ingredient in the Middle Eastern dish of falafel?
Falafel is a delectable dish that originates from the Middle East and is served as street food by many vendors and fast-casual eateries. It is typically made of a combination of chickpeas or fava beans along with a mix of fresh herbs and spices. This dish is especially prevalent in countries like Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Israel, where it is even considered to be the national food.
So there you have it, my recipe for classic Middle Eastern falafel that will leave your taste buds singing and your tummy feeling satisfied. I hope you find this recipe easy to follow and that it helps you achieve crispy and delicious falafel every time.
As someone who has spent countless hours perfecting the art of making falafel, I can tell you that the effort is well worth it. Not only is it a delicious and healthy vegetarian option, but it also holds cultural and historical significance in the Middle East.
I encourage you to try making your own falafel at home using this recipe and experiment with different serving and pairing options. Traditional ways to serve falafel include in a pita with hummus and tahini sauce or as part of a mezze platter with other Middle Eastern dips and dishes.
Remember, whether you prefer deep-fried or baked falafel, what’s most important is using quality ingredients and taking the time to prepare them properly. So go ahead and give this recipe a try – you won’t be disappointed!
As a final note, if you have any questions or comments about this recipe, feel free to reach out to me. I am always happy to share my knowledge and love for Middle Eastern cuisine. Happy cooking!
Falafel (Middle East, Palestine) Recipe
- 4 cups dried garbanzo beans
- 2 large onions
- 1 whole head of garlic
- 2 bunches parsley
- hot green pepper, to suit your taste
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- oil (for deep frying)
- Soak the chick peas overnight. Drain.
- Combine beans, onions, garlic, parsley, and hot pepper. Grind twice (Suggested is an electric meat grinder). Add salt, pepper, cumin, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.
- When ready to fry the falafel, add baking soda. Shape into patties 1 1/2 inch diameter and 1/2 inch thick.
- Fry in deep hot oil until light brown and crisp.
- Serve hot with tomato slices in arabic bread (or pita bread) in the form of a sandwhich. If desired, you can add to the sandwhich tahnia sauce and slices of onions.
- *The falafel batter can be frozen. Thaw and add baking soda just before frying.