Easy Falafel Recipe: Falafel, a delightful Middle Eastern treat, is a beloved vegan and gluten-free snack made primarily from chickpeas. Whether fried or baked, these crispy and flavorful bites are a favorite among vegetarians and snack enthusiasts around the world. If you’re yet to explore the world of falafel-making, don’t miss out on the chance to create these delectable morsels in your own kitchen.
The Origins of Falafel:
Originally enjoyed by Coptic Christians in Egypt as a meat substitute during lenten holidays, falafel has evolved into a global sensation. Traditionally crafted from chickpeas, fresh herbs, and an array of seasonings, the result is a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that can be likened to our own masala vada.
The Falafel Recipe:
Creating falafel is an uncomplicated process that yields astonishingly satisfying results. Begin by soaking dried chickpeas overnight – canned chickpeas are not recommended for this recipe. Along with onions, garlic, and an assortment of herbs and spices, the mixture is pulsed to a coarse consistency. There’s no need for additional binding agents if your chickpeas are properly soaked and drained. Shaping the mixture into balls and frying them to perfection is the final step to achieving falafel nirvana.
Tips for Success:
1. Opt for dry chickpeas: Canned chickpeas are too soft and will result in soft, rather than crispy, falafels.
2. Achieving the right consistency is key: Your mixture should be coarse yet hold its shape when formed into a ball. Avoid adding water during processing.
3. Flour or no flour? Flour is unnecessary if your chickpeas are soaked and drained well. If needed, rice or chickpea flour can be added for binding.
4. Temperature matters: Fry falafels in oil that’s hot but not smoking – around 375°F or 190°C is ideal.
Making Falafels: A Step-by-Step Guide:
1. Soak 1 cup of chickpeas for 8-12 hours, then drain them thoroughly.
2. Blend soaked chickpeas with onions, garlic, herbs, spices, and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes, then shape it into small balls.
4. Fry the balls in hot oil until they’re crispy and golden brown.
For a healthier alternative, you can bake the falafels. Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the mixture, shape into balls, and bake at 350°F (190°C) for 15-20 minutes.
Enjoy falafels in various ways:
– As a snack with creamy dips like tahini sauce or hummus.
– In a flavorful falafel salad with a Middle Eastern twist.
– Stuffed into warm pita pockets with salads and dips.
– Serve them fresh for the best taste and crispiness, as they tend to soften over time.
Make Ahead and Storage:
Prepare the falafel mixture in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Shape the falafels, freeze until firm, and then store them in a freezer-safe container for up to 20 days.
Whether you’re a falafel aficionado or new to this culinary delight, crafting your own falafels at home is a rewarding experience. With a handful of ingredients and simple steps, you’ll create a wholesome and scrumptious snack that’s bound to become a staple in your culinary repertoire. Savor the unique flavors and textures of falafels, whether enjoyed as a snack, salad, or in a delightful pita sandwich.