Chickpea Falafel

19 Sep

It’s been an eventful few days!  Yesterday alone, my cable internet quit working, my computer was threatening issues with the motherboard, and my phone seemed determined to thwart me at every turn.  Whatever ill-fated star was passing over the realm of electronics yesterday, however, seems to have gone on its way today.  I’m hoping.  Anyway, I’m back, and I’ve even found the time to share a new recipe.  (Though I’ve also discovered that if I continue to cook at the rate I started, I rapidly overreach the limited confines of my fridge and freezer.  The woes of cooking for one person.)

At any rate, I’ve been on a quest for foods that can be made in batches and prepared in advance for use in lunches or dinners during the week, when I have less spare time and a diet to keep in mind.  I’ve been craving falafel for a couple of weeks, and only whetted my appetite when I ate some last weekend, so I figured it was time to bite the bullet and experiment with recipes until I found something that worked.  My chickpeas were soaking, of course, when the internet and then my computer decided to take a vacation, leaving me with a lot of free time, a few sketchily-remembered details from the recipes I’d glanced at, and a heap of frustration.

What I ended up with did turn out pretty good.  Which is good, because it means I have lunches to eat for the rest of this week.

1 cup dried chickpeas
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 stalks of cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
red pepper flakes (to taste)
salt & pepper (to taste)
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Start by soaking your chickpeas in advance for 8-24 hours.  Allow about 2 inches of water above the beans, for them to expand.  After soaking, drain them, toss them in a pot and fill with fresh water.  Bring to a boil, skim the foam off the top, turn the heat down to keep them simmering, and cover for about an hour.  When finished, they should be tender enough to bite into or mash.  If you’re short on time, use about 2 cups of drained canned chickpeas, instead.

Blend the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a food processor until the result is a thick paste.  Add salt & pepper to taste, flour, and baking powder, mixing well.  Put the mixture in the fridge to rest and chill for an hour or two.

When you’re ready to continue, shape the paste into ping-pong-sized balls, flattening them slightly.  (At this stage, the uncooked falafel could be individually frozen for later cooking.  If you do, make sure they’re on a baking sheet or wax paper and not touching each other so they don’t turn into a solid mass.)

Heat oil to 350°F.  If deep-frying, the falafel won’t need to be flipped.  If shallow-frying, monitor each batch and turn them when they are crispy golden brown on the bottom.  Remove from oil when equally crispy on both sides, and set aside on a plate to cool and drain.  Add a dash of extra salt if desired.  If chilled before frying, a lot of oil shouldn’t penetrate into the falafel before the outside develops a nice crispy shell.

Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or tzatziki sauce, pickles, chopped tomato, and onion in a warm pita or tortilla. Add a smear of hot sauce, if you like it spicy.  Alternatively, use them for some protein in your next salad.

Makes about 45 falafel.

2 Responses to “Chickpea Falafel”

  1. Quinn at 1:37 pm #

    Keep the recipes coming. These are great


  1. Turkish Yogurt Soup | Oddvocado -

    […] than a can of soda–believe me, you only want to accidentally put sweet vanilla yogurt on your falafel once to lose all taste for ever making that mistake again.  Anyway, I made a batch of unsweetened […]

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