What about a trip to Middle East, yet again? So, here is the most famous Middle Eastern snack/street food recipe – Falafel for you all! A Middle Eastern spread is never complete without falafel in it! It is such a delicious appetizer that everyone around the world loves.
For those of you who do not know what a falafel is, it is a deep fried fritter made with chickpeas, fava beans or even both, sometimes. According to my knowledge, I guess the one made with chickpeas is more famous in Middle Eastern countries and the one with made with fava beans is a popular Egyptian version.
Although falafel has a lot of healthy ingredients in it, deep frying them is the only drawback because of the rise in calories. Nowadays, healthier versions of falafel has come up. This involves baking the falafel balls instead of deep frying in oil.
Falafel and hummus is the best combination ever. But, we often serve it with a tahini based sauce. It can be eaten as such as a snack or more commonly it is served inside pita bread pockets or as a wrap, topped with salad and sauces.
Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment. It is made with toasted ground white sesame. Often, we use it as a dip for vegetables or falafel. But, we also use it to make other dips and sauces like hummus, baba ghanoush. While grinding the sesame the oil releases and makes it into a paste.
To make falafel, we soak dried chickpeas overnight. We do not use cooked chick peas simply because it would not hold together while making the balls or the patties. Also, it is not a good idea to use tinned or canned chickpeas because dried ones always gives a better texture and flavor to the falafel than the tinned ones.
While soaking the chickpeas, sometimes we even add baking soda. WE then grind this chickpeas using a food processor without water. Along with it we also add onions, garlic, green chili and parsley, which gives an amazing flavor and color to the falafel.
Along with all these herbs, we also use a few spices like cumin, coriander and red chili powder to add some more flavor to the falafel. Because of the parsley, falafel is often green in the inside. If you are not using parsley, then it might be brown in color.
As I had already said, falafel is commonly deep fried. This results in a crispy and crunchy outer surface while the inside is still soft. To avoid the extra calories and fat, You can also bake the falafel in an oven. I have shallow fried the falafel. SO, shallow frying stands somewhere in between deep frying and baking, I guess!
So, anyways, enjoy this falafel with your family. Serve along with hummus or tahini as a snack or even as a wrap with some salad and sauce topping. Stay safe; stay healthy! Happy cooking and eating!
While you are here, do checkout my other appetizer recipes to accompany your main meal! For a Middle Eastern feast at home, try my Arabian rice recipes too! Also, checkout my deconstructed shawarma recipe – the ever famous chicken shawarma in a different version! Do try my other snacks recipes too for a fun filled evening!
Has meal planning been a little bit difficult during this lockdown? Look through my No Veggies, 21-Day Lockdown Series for ideas on what to cook during this lockdown.
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- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 medium onion
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- 3 green chili
- 1 cup parsley
- 1 cup coriander leaves
- ½ tsp black pepper powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- salt, as required
- ½ tsp baking soda
- oil, as required for frying
- Wash and soak the chickpeas in enough water for at least 6 hours or over night.
- Drain all the water and grind the chickpeas in a food processor. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add the onions, green chili, garlic, parsley and coriander leaves in a food processor and grind it.
- To the mixing bowl, add the ground onion-herb mixture along with all the spice powders and salt as needed. Combine everything well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before frying.
- Just before frying, add the baking soda and mix well.
- Heat sufficient oil in a kadai on low-medium heat. Shape the mixture into balls or patties and fry them until golden brown on all sides.
- Serve hot with hummus or tahini by the side.
- Do not use canned chickpeas. Dried and soaked chickpeas gives a very food texture and flavor.
- Do not add any water while grinding the chickpeas.
- My food processor cannot accommodate everything. So, I ground everything separately.
- Add cayenne pepper according to your taste.
- Adding baking soda is completely optional. You can even add baking powder instead.
- If you mixture is falling apart, then chill it for some more time.
- Add some all purpose flour for binding if required.
- You can deep fry, shallow fry or even bake the patties.