Falafel made from dried chickpeas

You can’t get a much healthier snack than this. Falafel is made from chickpeas which are packed with nutrients like protein, iron, fibre and folate to name a few. The high fibre and protein content can help you controlling your appetite and blood sugar levels. Furthermore, chickpeas may benefit digestion, certain chronic deceases like diabetes and some cancers. Eating chickpeas also help to lower bad cholesterol levels and assist with weight loss.  If that’s not enough raison to start eating chickpeas………. falafel is a very yummy treat.

Makes: 18 falafels | Soaking: overnight | Prep: 20 min | Rest: 30 min | Frying: 10 minutes

Who connected us?!  We eat home made tortillas at least once a week and I am always looking for different fillings that are healthier. After trying a few different Falafel recipes, this one became the winner. Served fresh with tabouleh, tahini and a yogurt mint sauce.

Falafel Ingredients

  • 1 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 green chilli pepper
  • 3 garlic gloves
  • 1,5 tsp cumin
  • 1,5 tsp coriander
  • 1,5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp water

Preparing the Falafel mixture:

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight. Keep in mind that the chickpeas will almost triple in size, therefore use a bowl that is big enough and plenty of water.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  • Combine chickpeas, onion, parsley, garlic, green pepper and spices to a food processor. I recommend roughly chopping up the onion, parsley and pepper before adding. Pulse in the food processor but do not blend too long. The mixture should look like coarse sand. When the ingredients do not fit in your food processor in one go, mix the ingredients in a bowl before pulsing them in batches.
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the chickpea flour, baking soda and water, and mix thoroughly.
  • Cover and place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes

Shaping the Falafel

  • Shaping the falafel balls. There are special falafel scoops that will make your falafel-life easy, but I shape the falafels by hand. No worries about getting your hands dirty, it’s kind of meditational to shape these little goodies by hand. A flatter shaped patty would be preferable if you panfry or oven-bake the falafels. When you deep fry the falafels, any shape will do.
  • Take a scoop of the mixture in your hand and form a ball. The mixture is a bit wet and it’s not easy to roll the balls like you would when you make meatballs. Just form the balls carefully with your fingers and palm together.
  • Place all the balls on a plate, keep refrigerated until you are ready to start frying.

Tahini Sauce is the must have ingredient when serving Falafel. Just combine 2 tablespoons of Tahini paste with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt.

Frying or baking your Falafel

Deep Frying; definitely my preferred method as it gives the most crispy falafel that are light on the inside. Heat your deep fryer or pot with oil to 180°C / 425°F. Gently drop 6 balls into the oil and fry for about 4 minutes or until golden. Remove the fried falafel onto a plate with paper towel.

Pan Frying; Heat a few tablespoons of oil into a heavy based pan and place the falafel into the pan, frying for about 4 minutes until golden. Remove the fried falafel onto a plate with paper towel.

Oven baked; Preheat the oven to 180°C / 425°F. Place all your falafel, preferably flatter patties, unto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place the baking tray into the oven and bake the falafel for about 25-30 minutes until golden. You don’t use any oil. Your falafel will be less crispy, but still nice and healthy.

Notes:

  • Balls or patties: I do both, the kids definitely like falafel balls, but patties take a little bit less time to fry. Because they are thinner it is easier to get them done on the inside before they burn. When you decide to oven bake or pan fry your falafel, patties are your best choice.
  • Baking Soda; The secret ingredient. Baking soda helps to get a fluffier inside.
  • Can you keep falafel in the fridge? Some say you can safe baked falafel in the fridge or freezer. In my experience, falafel is best eaten straight after they are fried.
  • Canned Chickpeas; Don’t work. Falafel must be made with dried chickpeas that are not cooked, but soaked overnight.

Serve your falafel with home made tortillas or oven baked pitta bread.

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