I still remember my first bite of these small, crunchy, oily round fritters at this small joint (anoushrestaurants.ca) near University Avenue in Toronto. It was instant love and I was transported to another world. Hidden inside freshly made pita bread were these crunchy fritters along with some hot sauce, tahina sauce, hummus, and garlic sauce. Falafels have been in my list of favourite foods ever since.
Falafels originated in Egypt and were and continues to be made with Fava beans. It then made it way to other Middle Eastern countries including Israel where it is made with chickpeas. History states that the dish was invented in Egypt by Coptic Christians who ate it as a replacement for meat during Lent. These fritters are now found around the world as part of vegetarian cuisine. Falafel plays an iconic role in Israeli cuisine and is widely considered to be the national dish of the country.
The star ingredient in Falafel is “Chickpeas” also known as “Garbanzo beans”. They are widely used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. About 75% of the fiber found in chickpeas is insoluble fiber which remains undigested as it reached your large intestine. That makes falafels wholesome, nutritious while also being vegan and gluten-free. The ingredients needed to prepare falafels are affordable, easy to find in the local superstore and most importantly very easy to prepare. If you have not yet had a chance to try this, it’s time you do.
Canned chickpeas will not work. It should be made with dried and soaked chickpeas.
Falafels are always deep fried. When they are deep fried, they soak less oil.
Now let’s get to the recipe.
250 gms dried chickpeas
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 medium onion,roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon chickpea flour (optional)
Oil for frying (I used avocado oil but any oil with high smoke point will work)
Rinse the chickpeas and soak them overnight in a large bowl with enough water. Next day, rinse the chickpeas again and drain well.
In a bowl of a food processor, place the herbs, garlic, onion and spices and pulse till they are coarsely chopped. Then add the chickpeas, salt and chickpea flour and pulse again till it is finely chopped. The texture should be similar to couscous and should hold together when pressed.
Transfer the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, heat oil in a heavy duty frying pan over medium heat with about 1-inch of oil to 375 degrees F. You can use a deep fry thermometer to monitor the temperature for accurate results.
Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and form 1 inch fritters. A cookie scoop or a falafel scoop can be used as well to shape the fritters. Shape and size of the fritter can be adjusted to your preference.
By now, the oil will be hot enough to start frying. Slide the fritters gently into the hot oil ensuring you do not overcrowd the pan. About 5-6 fritters at a time is ideal. Keep frying them till they are golden brown on each side. It will take about 5 minutes for it to brown completely. Once they are fried, remove them from the oil and drain it on a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining fritters.
- Serve it hot with tahini sauce and hummus
- Stuff them into a pita with a tahini sauce, hummus, hot sauce, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and pickles of your choice.
Can this be frozen? Yes – I have made a big batch and frozen them. After the fritters have cooled completed, place the fritters inside a Ziploc bag and seal thoroughly. Place this Ziploc bag into another Ziploc bag and again seal thoroughly.
When you are ready to eat, thaw them and reheat in the oven at 200 deg. F for 15 minutes.