If there’s one legume I could eat every single day, it’s chickpeas. They are incredibly versatile: sprout them to eat in a salad; grind them into a flour to make savoury pancakes, cook them to make hummus, or soak them to make falafel. Amazing little things, and true superfoods (they’re high in protein, fibre, iron and other minerals).
Falafel are my favourite way to enjoy chickpeas. There’s not much better than a great falafel (and not much worse than a disappointing one). They’re a staple street food in some parts of the world, I only wish they were as common here!
This falafel recipe is really simple, and as authentic as it gets (I think). Two notes.
- Use dried chickpeas (and soak them overnight)—don’t use cooked chickpeas, they won’t get you the right texture. Falafel should have a nice bite to it, and cooked chickpeas will give you mush.
- Use a food processor, a blender won’t work. You might get away with using a Nutribullet, though it’lll be tricky.
These are best eaten straight away in a fresh pita with hummus, tahina, juicy tomatoes and fresh cucumber. Alternatively, you can freeze the raw falafel balls (without cooking them) in airtight freezer bags, and defrost them when you want to cook them.
- Food processor
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1 cup fresh coriander
- ½ medium red onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ cup flour
- Soak the dried chickpeas in fresh water overnight. (Don't use canned or cooked chickpeas, it won't work as well.)
- Drain the soaked chickpeas, and place in a food processor along with the parsey, coriander, onion, and garlic. Process until blended, but not too much—keep a bit of the chunky texture.
- Add the cumin, ground coriander, salt, bicarb and flour, and pulse. Alternatively, empty the lot into a large bowl and mix it by hand.
- Refrigerate in a covered bowl for at least 15 minutes, up to a couple of hours.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan or shallow saucepan, on medium heat.
- Shape the falafel mix into balls (with a scant tablespoon per ball), and press into the hot pan to make flattened mini-patties. (I prefer this method to deep-frying, less oil this way.)
- Fry until golden-brown, then flip and fry the other side.
- Serve immediately, in a fresh pita (or on some quinoa) with hummus, chopped tomato and cucumber, fresh coriander and tahina.