Making Your Own Falafel

Falafel consist of chickpeas fried in a ball or patty, but there are few dishes that are both so satisfying and conveniently portable. Whether eaten by themselves as a snack or served in a pita or flatbread, these fritters are fun and tasty. Falafel may seem like a challenge for someone who is still learning to cook, but with a few tips, you’ll be on your way to making a delicious batch tonight.

It's surprisingly easy to turn chickpeas and some spices into your own falafel.
It’s surprisingly easy to turn chickpeas and some spices into your own falafel.

1. Prepare the chickpeas
To make falafel, first you need to choose your chickpeas. They are readily available precooked and canned. However, Serious Eats strongly recommended using dried chickpeas instead because it is harder to get the canned variety to hold together. Consequently you need to add more flour, which makes the final product overly dense  Plus, dried chickpeas just taste better.

Selecting dried chickpeas does mean that you will have to do some preparation in advance by soaking them overnight. The Kitchn stated that dry chickpeas would roughly double in size in the water, meaning 1 3/4 cups of dried chickpeas become 3 1/2 cups. The next day, carefully drain the chickpeas and they will be ready for to be made into falafel.

2. Forming falafel
Grind the chickpeas down in a food processor on the pulse setting. Get rid of any large chunks, but leave the results rather coarse. Otherwise, again, the falafel will turn out overly heavy. If you have access to one, Bon Appetit pointed out that a meat grinder works well for achieving just the right consistency.

Then, pulse scallions, garlic, onion and herbs like cilantro, parsley or coriander. Mix these together with the chickpeas in a large bowl. Epicurious suggested then adding both chickpea flour and baking powder to help the falafel hold together while keeping it airy. You can also mix in further spices, such as salt, cardamom and cumin.

Healthy Vegetarian Falafel Balls
Healthy Vegetarian Falafel Balls

3. Fry on the stovetop
Roll the falafel to your preferred size and shape. Serious Eats suggested keeping the balls very small, using about a tablespoon of your mixture for each. Melissa d’Arabian, on the other hand, prefers to form them into patties. This form allows for more even contact with the cooking surface.

In any case, next it’s time to fry the falafel. Bon Appetit instructed pouring about three inches of oil into a heavy pot and setting a thermometer. Heat the oil at a medium-high setting until it reaches 330 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook several of the falafel at a time, turning them occasionally. It should take each batch about five minutes to become brown and crisp. Move them onto paper towels and let them rest a few minutes.

4. Serve
Once all the falafel have cooled off, you can present them on pita bread with vegetables and tahini sauce. If you wish to make the sauce yourself, you’ll just need to grind sesame seeds and oil into a paste. PopSugar suggested toasting the seeds first for improved flavor.

With just a few cooking basics a little preparation, you’ll have an exceptional meal or snack. Plus. for added convenience, you can prepare the falafel mix ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator up to five days.

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