These falafel taste great folded into pita pockets, topped with pickled vegetables and drizzled with yogurt crema for an easy and delicious weeknight meal. They are also great served alongside dipping sauces like Yogurt Crema or tahini sauce for a casual cocktail party hors d’oeuvre. Keep in mind that falafel is the ultimate street food—it is best served immediately when piping hot, crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside. Be sure to allow enough time to soak the beans, preferably overnight.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas (see Kitchen Tips)
- 3 tablespoons parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Generous grind of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup vegetable oil for deep frying
- Pita bread for serving
- Soak the chickpeas in 2 inches of water overnight, then drain and rinse. They will have doubled in size.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, baking powder, and flour, pulsing 8 to 10 times. Stop to scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl with a spatula; then pulse again several times for about 30 seconds, until the ingredients resemble a coarse meal. With the machine running, add the water through the feed tube and process until the ingredients form a wet, grainy paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate while you heat the oil, about 10 minutes.
- In an 8- to 10-inch high-sided pan or small pot, heat 2 inches of oil over medium heat, until it reaches 350°F as measured by a candy thermometer. Leave the thermometer in the pot so you can monitor the heat, as you might need to increase or reduce the heat to maintain a steady oil temperature while frying (see Kitchen Tip).
- Set up a baking sheet covered with paper towels next to the stove. Remove the falafel mixture from the refrigerator and, using a tablespoon, form into small balls. Carefully place 6 balls into the oil, wait 10 seconds, and then move the balls around with a slotted spoon to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Fry for 3½ to 4 minutes, or until the balls are golden brown and cooked through. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the prepared tray and repeat until all of the balls are fried.
- Serve rolled in warm pita bread with veggies as a flavorful sandwich or with Yogurt Crema or a tahini dipping sauce as an hors d’oeuvre.
- To get the incredible texture that defines a great falafel, you must use dried chickpeas (garbanzos). It’s an extra step, but it is really worth it. Sorry; canned beans are great for many dishes, but for falafel, it just isn’t the same!
- If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can heat the oil over medium heat and carefully drop in a small piece (about an inch square) of bread. If it turns brown all over and floats to the surface in 60 seconds, the oil is about 350° to 365°F, which means it is ready. If it browns sooner, the temperature is higher: in 20 seconds, it’s somewhere between 382° and 390°F; 40 seconds and it’s between 365° and 382°F.
- This recipe will serve 6 as an hors d’oeuvre.
- To make a totally dairy-free meal, serve with Basic Tahini Sauce instead of the Yogurt Crema.