If you’re looking for some tasty vegetarian recipes, falafel is definitely going to pop up during your search. This beloved Middle Eastern dish is not only delicious, but also very versatile. Have it with mint, coriander, parsley (or all of them!), enjoy them spicy or a bit more mild, put them in a bun, a pita, tortilla or try it in a superfood salad or a buddha bowl… the possibilities are endless! With this simple recipe and some tips from our Principal, Fiona, you can experiment with the herbs and spices to work out the best version for you. Don’t forget about the Tahini Sauce which will jazz it up even more!
Falafel originates in the Middle East and is made from ground chickpeas or sometimes a mix of chickpeas and fava beans (dried broad beans). The chickpeas are soaked but not cooked. Don’t use tins of beans for this as it makes the mixture soggy and soft. They usually have onion, herbs and spices in but you can vary this. Choose onions that are not too harsh so spring onions or shallots are ideal for this. Varying the amount and proportions of parsley and coriander will also subtly change the flavour so play around to get the seasoning and flavour you like. If you find the mixture hard to roll together, apply a bit more pressure or add a couple of tablespoons of gram (chickpea) flour.
Makes approximately 30
300g dried chick peas
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sumac or grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp allspice
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 banana shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Large handful of coriander, chopped
3 tbsp chopped parsley (or chives)
½ tsp baking powder
- Soak beans in cold water overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain, rinse and dry on a clean tea towel and add three quarters of the chick peas to the food processor. (You need a good sized processor bowl for this otherwise do it in batches and mix together in a bowl). Whizz to break up well. Add the spices, salt, shallot and garlic and process again until well mixed. Finally add the remaining chick peas and herbs, leave the mixture slightly chunky. Add the baking powder. If you want to check the seasoning take a small piece and fry in hot oil before tasting.
- Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and then shape into balls. If liked roll some in sesame seeds.
- Heat 5cm oil in a saucepan to 180C and fry the falafel in batches until golden brown. Depending on the size each batch will take approximately 5 minutes. Do not fry to quickly as the centre won’t be cooked. Serve with flatbreads, salads and tahini sauce. They taste even better the next day!
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
4 tbsp tahini
Pinch of cumin
3 -4 tbsp iced water
- Put the garlic and lemon juice together and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
- Strain the lemon juice into a bowl and add the tahini, pinch of salt and cumin.
- Whisk in enough water to make a smooth consistency. Taste and add extra lemon juice, salt and cumin as required.
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