Traditional Falafel

traditional-falafel-recipe

Falafel is, perhaps, the original street food of the Middle East. While its origins remain shrouded, the inimitably vague finger of academia has pointed to it being first made in Egypt, perhaps as a meat-substitute during Lent.

Whatever the beginnings of falafel, its popularity quickly spread throughout the Middle East and subsequently across the globe. It, for instance, represents the beating heart of Bristol’s burgeoning street food scene, providing sustenance for the city’s creative industries.

How-to-make-traditional-falafel

Though originally thought to be made using fava beans (the Egyptian way), falafel now more commonly features chickpeas. Either is good, though both present similar pitfalls. Indeed, if you’ve ever had falafel fall apart during cooking you’ve likely made the biggest mistake of all; using tinned pulses.

Falafel absolutely must be made using dried – and then soaked – chickpeas. The saturation of tinned chickpeas precludes them from being used in falafel. Don’t even try it, you’d be better off defenestrating your hard earned cash.

The other thing not to do is cook your chickpeas before frying the falafel. This isn’t necessary and will likely result in the same soggy mess as above. We usually soak twice the amount of chickpeas, divide in two and cook half for hummus (leaving to cool before blending) and leave half for falafel.

Traditional Falafel

Makes 15-20 falafel

Ingredients:

  • 200g dried chickpeas (soaked, as per packet instructions)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, ground
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A little black pepper
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Method:

  1. Tip the chickpeas, onion and garlic into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not yet hummus-like in consistency.
  2. Tip in the flour, cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Mix together well until it comes together as a coarse paste. If you find the mixture a little dry add a splash of water.
  3. Bring your frying oil to temperature in your chosen pan (I use a wok). Once the oil has reached frying temperature, shape the falafel into balls using an ice cream scoop and cook a few at a time.
  4. Each falafel should take around 4 minutes to brown and cook fully. If yours colour faster than that try turning the temperature down.
  5. Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to set the falafel aside in a bowl lined with kitchen roll to soak away any excess oil. Leave to cool briefly before eating.

Making-falafel-recipe how-to-make-falafel
Cost: Simple vegetarian street food like falafel is always inexpensive. The simple fact you have to use dried chickpeas to make traditional falafel keeps the cost low.

You shouldn’t have to spend more than around £1 to make around 20, which is enough for 4-5 people. Those street food stalls are making an absolute killing.

9 comments on “Traditional Falafel

  1. marijkedol
    December 11, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Looks nice. I may try to make this. Thanks.

    • Admin
      December 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Glad you like the look of it.

  2. Maggie
    December 12, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Hooray!, you are back! Great recipe , as always. THank you

    • Admin
      December 12, 2017 at 6:53 am

      Thanks Maggie!

  3. lulu
    December 12, 2017 at 2:51 am

    Thanks for this recipe. I’m crazy about falafel but have never made it.

    • Admin
      December 12, 2017 at 6:54 am

      Now’s your chance!

  4. Bloodfreak
    December 15, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks for this! I made these a couple nights ago and quite liked them. (I need more ways to use this big bag of besan flour I bought.) When I buy felafel sandwiches, they often squirt a tahini based sauce on it. I’d like to try it with that next time. Is that just watered down tahini or is there something else to it?

  5. midihideaways
    December 18, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Great to see you posting again!! Thanks for the recipe, I adore falafel. Do you think I could freeze some of the mixture before frying it?

  6. Karen
    January 1, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    A dish I like but have never tried to make. Thanks for the inspiration.

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