Sunday, May 4, 2014

Falafel (Chickpea Fritters)

I was recently talking with my sister about Yom Haatzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) and she commented how funny it is that in America they eat steak all year long and falafel on Yom Haatzmaut and in Israel we eat falafel all year long and steak only on Yom Haatzmaut. Well, this year I decided to channel my dual nationalities and have both. In a country where there is a falafel joint on practically every main street, and where your loyalty to your favorite falafel place is sacrosanct you might think it is a waste to toil to make your own. Well, truth be told, it is less of a toil then you think and there is a certain pride in perfecting something so culturally important. Now, everyone has their own opinions when it comes to what goes into your pita. My rule is that it is not a great falafel unless there are copious amounts of two things: fried eggplant and fresh tehini. Israeli salad, pickles, hummus, charif (chili pepper paste), cabbage salad, even gasp! sauerkraut (a favorite topping on falafel in America) are all fine and good but without the fried eggplant and tehini you will not win me over. And once you are heating up the oil to fry the falafel why not throw some eggplant in first anyway? One thing I always like to see when I bite into a falafel ball is green flecks. Those green flecks mean fresh herbs were used and the taste will reflect it. In the interest of time I took a shortcut and used canned chickpeas here though traditional falafel is made by just soaking overnight and not cooking chickpeas. Though they were a lot less work then I thought they would be and positively heavenly straight out of the fryer I won't be giving up on my favorite falafel place any time soon and I'll save this recipe for special occasions- there is just something about hobnobbing with the locals as everyone downs their falafels with fervor that is just irreplaceable at home. Enjoy!


2 cans (500 grams or 16oz per can) chickpeas, drained
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp sriracha or your favorite hot sauce (optional)
1/3 cup fresh parsley
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1 egg
juice of  one large lemon
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup flour
salt to taste
canola oil for frying

For serving: fried eggplant, pickles, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, tahini, hummus.


Place the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, sriracha, parsley, cilantro, egg and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse to combine. You want everything mostly chopped with no large chunks but you don't want to process it that much that it looks like hummus. Remove to a bowl and mix in the baking powder, flour and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour. Heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep pan until about 360 degrees. Make rounded balls out of the chickpea mixture (a cookie scoop is great here) and gently drop into the oil. Fry until golden all around.


3 comments:

  1. Hi, this looks great! How many falafel balls/servings does it make?

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