If you’ve ever enjoyed Pita Bread, Hummus, Kebabs you’ve ventured into the wonderful world of Middle Eastern food. But there’s much more to the cuisine than these iconic staples—it has a range of flavors and styles to offer.
If you have cravings for Middle Eastern cuisine or want a deeper understanding of the region, a great place to start is the food. Authentic food from any given place packs with it more than just the flavors. It provides insights into the lives of the people and the history of the region.
One of the iconic staples of the Middle Eastern cuisine is the Falafel-fried balls made of chickpeas with tender and chewy interior and crispy fried exterior to create the perfect bite and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. To taste some of the best dishes of the Middle East from your own home try this amazing Falafel recipe. While there’s no substitute for actually visiting the Middle East, food can help you experience some of its elements from afar.
What is Falafel?
Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern “fast food” made of a mixture of chickpeas (or fava beans), fresh herbs, and spices that are formed into a small patties or balls. It’s thought that falafel originated in Egypt as Coptic Christians looked for a hearty replacement for meat during long seasons of fasting or lent. It has also become a popular vegan food in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.
Falafel plays an iconic role in Israeli cuisine and is widely considered to be the national dish of the country. While falafel is not a specifically Jewish dish it has been eaten by Jewish in the Middle East and North Africa.
Falafel has become popular among vegetarians and vegans as an alternative to meat-based street foods.
Falafel is high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Key nutrients are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B, and folate.
If you’ve never had falafel before, you’re in for a treat! This meatless nugget is my favorite food to eat. Making this dish is always a festival of flavors in my mouth. As I always say nothing beat a homemade food. Fresh for your enjoyment this Falafel is so easy and its made with a pantry staple ingredients. This Falafel recipe is made to perfection to satisfy your cravings of middle eastern cuisine.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS RECIPE?
- Easy To Make
- Fresh And Flavorful
- Vegan and Vegetarian dish
- Simple Ingredient List
- Make Ahead And Freezer Friendly
TIPS FOR SUCCESS AND TECHNIQUES
- No canned chickpeas (very important!) -use dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in water and cook by instruction of the package.
- Herbs – Fresh parsley and cilantro, roughly chopped, you can use fresh dill as well.
- Spices – Ground cumin and coriander- is the perfect blend of aromatics
- Baking Powder – Baking powder will make the falafels fluffier and more moist inside.
- Garlic – Fresh is best, also use as much as you like.
- Green Onions – Roughly chopped, do not skip this ingredient. Gives the falafel amazing flavor and the beautiful green color.
- Yellow Onion– Gives a lot of flavor to the Falafel
- Fry– do not overcrowd, fry on batches.
- Chilled the falafel mixture for 2 hours in the fridge before frying
Why Did My Falafel Fall Apart While Frying?
This can happen if the mixture is too wet, or you haven’t refrigerated the mixture. Make sure you pat dry the chickpeas as much as possible. The flour also aids in keeping the falafel intact, so if you find the mixture is still to add add a bit more flour.
How to serve Falafel?
Middle Eastern Style: On the streets of the Middle East, falafel are typically served hot with a generous amount of tahini sauce or tzatziki sauce
As a Sandwich: Serve with Pita bread, get some homemade hummus and some fresh onions, cucumbers and you have a taste of heaven
Can I Bake My Falafel Instead?
If you’re looking to cut out calories or fat and want to avoid frying, falafel is great baked or made in the air fryer!
OVEN: Bake in a preheat oven at 375°F for 30 minutes on a greased baking sheet, flipping once halfway through.
AIR FRYER: Spray the falafel with non stick cooking spray and allow to bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
- 2 cups dried chickpeas - do not use cooked or can chick peas
- 1 cup fresh parsley - chopped
- 3/4 cup cilantro leaves only - no stems
- 1/2 cup fresh dill - optional
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 small onion - chopped
- 3-4 green onion - chopped
- 7-8 cloves garlic
- salt - to taste
- 1 tbsp. black pepper - or to taste
- 1 tbsp. ground coriander
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
The night before:
- Place the dried chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl filled with water to cover the chickpeas by at least 2 inches. Soak overnight for 18 hours (longer if the chickpeas are still too hard). When ready, drain the chickpeas completely and pat them dry.
- Add the chickpeas, herbs, onions, garlic and spices to the large bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Run the food processor 40 seconds at a time until all is well combined forming a the falafel mixture.
- Transfer the falafel mixture to a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight or until ready to cook.
- Scoop tablespoonfuls of the falafel mixture and form into patties (½ inch in thickness each). It helps to have wet hands as you form the patties.
- Fill a Dutch oven or medium saucepan 3 inches up with oil. Heat the oil on medium-high until it bubbles softly. Carefully drop the falafel patties in the oil, let them fry for about 3 to 5 minutes or so until crispy and medium brown on the outside. Avoid crowding the falafel in the saucepan, fry them in batches if necessary.
- Place the fried falafel patties on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Serve falafel hot next to other small plates such as tzatziki sauce, hummus or assemble the falafel patties in pita bread with tahini sauce, hummus, onions, tomato and cucumbers.
- Do not use can or cooked chickpeas, always use dry ones.
- Soaked the dry chickpeas the night before
- Chill the falafel mixture- that way the patties will not disintegrate in the frying oil.
- Add baking powder to make the falafel patties fluffy.