Wading into the internet for a workable home recipe, we ended up in a familiar place. Seems that lately all roads lead to Mark Bittman, our "go to" New York Times food guy. Here is his recipe for falafel.
- 1 3/4 cups of dried chickpeas
- 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- scant tsp of cayenne (or to taste)
- i cup chopped parsley (or cilantro)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Neutral oil (grapeseed or corn for frying)
- Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with water by 4 to 4 inches. Soak overnight. Expect the beans to triple in volume.
- Drain beans and reserve the soaking water. Transfer to a food processor. (Note: we are fortunate to have a VitaMix blender. To get the proper consistency, a strong blender is needed). Add the remaining ingredients except the oil. Pulse until minced but not pureed. Add small amounts (no more than a tablespoon at a time) of the soaking water if needed to allow your blender to work. Adding too much water will make blending easier but will insure that your falafel falls apart during cooking. Taste, adding salt, pepper, cayenne or lemon juice to taste.
- Add oil to a deep sauce pan. Set heat to medium high and heat to 350 F (if you have thermometer, use it).
- Scoop heaping tablespoons of the batter and shape into balls or small patties. Fry in batches, without crowding, until golden brown, turning as needed. Total cooking time will be less than 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temp.
Traditionally, falafel is served in a kind of sandwich made with pita bread, a salad made from cucumber, green pepper and tomato all diced and lightly dressed with oil and lemon (we used white balsamic in place of the lemon juice). It is typically finished with a tahini sauce. The sandwiches can either be in the pita pocket or in an open face style, eaten with a knife and fork. Either way, they are delicious, and have a heartiness that makes you forget there is no meat involved. If you've had falafel on the street and liked it, try making it at home. If you haven't had it before, I highly recommend you try it!