Easy homemade Falafel is crunchy outside and soft inside.It is made from chickpeas, fresh herbs and Arabic spices. Vegan and Gluten Free.Falafel, one of the Middle East’s most locally popular food stars, has risen to be one of the world’s most delectable tastes. This deep-fried and sometimes baked patty made from chickpeas, fava beans, or both, is considered to be a substantial and healthy alternative to meat by vegetarians, vegans and food lovers in between – positioning itself as an international food staple rivalled by few.
Perhaps because of its ever growing popularity, falafel’s origin story varies from country to country within the Middle East. The term finds its roots in Arabic (filfil meaning “pepper”) and was commonly referred to as Ta’amiya. Its modern name (pha la phel meaning “of many beans”) is attributed to the Egyptian Copts, an ancient Christian sect that is thought to have preferred it as a meat substitute during certain holidays throughout the year. Ta’amiya was made using dry, white fava beans. As these fritters gained in popularity throughout the region, new variations arose, with chickpeas being the bean of choice, primarily by Middle Eastern Jews.
Today, falafel is commonly served with hummus and tahini sauce, and topped with veggies such as lettuce, tomato and pickles. These fritters are made from either ground chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or from fava beans, mixed with spices such as coriander, cumin, parsley, garlic and onion. They might be served in pockets of flat breads such as pita, on salads, or even eaten alone as a snack.
But what makes falafel one of the 21st Centuries super-healthy- happy meals is that it contains an incredible source of plant protein. In addition, it is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and rich in fiber and other essential nutrients. Frying it in oils low in Trans and saturated fats such as sunflower, canola or grape seed is always a good idea, as well as baking them – both cooking styles yield tasty and delicious bites.
It’s quite easy to make falafel balls, even if you’re the abovementioned bachelor or bachelorette. You can buy your own premade versions, usually at health stores or in the health section of your supermarket, but where’s the fun in that? It’s easy, efficient, cost-effective, healthier, and more enjoyable to make your own; they also store for lengthy periods, especially if deep-fried. Below are some recipes to whet your appetite but to get you prepared, buy your own chickpeas, place them in water, and let them soak overnight. Store-bought falafel mix can sometimes be too dry, rendering the chickpeas unmanageable, not being able to bind properly to one another, needing a binder to rectify this issue. Making your own is also less expensive, and more fun of course.
Just remember to ideally get your hands on good chickpeas, not canned, and borrow a food processor from your neighbour if you don’t have one. Once you become comfortable with the basic recipe of falafels, you can have fun and play with different secondary ingredients, or add your own variation to customize. And don’t forget to enjoy!
Adding to its ever increasing popularity is falafel’s quick and easy portability (aka fast food street cred). From Morocco to the United States, every nation has its own version due in large part to the increasing numbers of food carts or kiosks that have popped up in major cities throughout the world. Largely attributed to Yemenite Jewish immigrants to Israel in the 1960’s, falafel kiosks have helped to revolutionize falafel as a go-to fast and affordable meal. Owing much to its light taste and heart healthy characteristics, it even won the heart of the largest food chain in the world. In recent years, fast food mega giant McDonald’s introduced the McFalafel as a healthier alternative to its menu choices of Big Mac’s, cheeseburgers, and fries. Whose cholesterol could argue with that?
Here is my version of falafel, as well as several other variations you can try. While falafel made in Egypt and other Arab countries continues to be made with fava beans, Israeli falafel is made with chickpeas. This is due to a hereditary enzymatic deficiency called G6PD which is commonly found amongst Jews and can be triggered by fava beans.
In the end, whichever method you choose, Enjoy!
HOW TO MAKE FALAFEL
- Dry chickpeas- 400 gm ( 2 cups-dry, 4 cups-soaked)
- Onion ( finely chopped)- 2 medium or 1 large
- Garlic cloves( finely chopped)- 4-5
- Fresh dill leaves- ½ cup
- Leek- ¼ cup
- Parsley- ½ cup
- Cilantro leaves- ¼ cup ( optional)
- Black pepper- 1 tsp
- Lemon juice- 1 tbsp
- Cumin seeds-2 tbsp
- Whole coriander- 2 tbsp
- Green Cardamon- 3-4 pieces
- Cayenne Pepper- ½ tsp
- Vegetable oil -1 cup ( I used Canola Oil)
- Salt- To Taste
- Take a large bowl that will accommodate all the chickpeas, cover them with cold water ( 10 cm above) and soak for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- They will double in size and you will get 4 cups of chickpeas after soaking.
- Chop fresh herbs ( dill, parsley, leek, cilantro) , onions and garlic.
- Roast whole coriander seeds, green cardamon, black pepper & cumin for 1-2 minutes.Don't over-roast. Grind roasted spices in food processor with grinder attachment.
- Transfer soaked chickpeas, herbs, spices, salt, garlic, lemon juice, onion , Cayenne pepper into bowl of food processor with blade attachment. Pulse until it becomes harsh in texture. From time to time scrape the sides of food processor. The final mixture should not look like a paste. Don't over-process. Once it is done ,remove the large unprocessed chickpeas. Mix well with the spoon or fork.
- Put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Pour vegetable oil into the pan, heat it.
- In the meantime, make 26-28 ball out of falafel mixture. The total amount depends on the size you want to make them.
- When the oil is at the right temperature, fry falafel balls untill they become brown on both sides.
- Using a slotted spoon, take falafel out of oil.
- Allow them to drain on paper towels.
- Serve them hot! You can make falafel sandwich or wrap.
Skillet/ non-stick frying pan