Falafel is a delicious Middle Eastern dish made from ground up chickpeas or fava beans. It is a hand made patty/ball that is usually served with pita, toped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, hummus, and then drizzled with tahini.
Falafel’s are said to have been first made in Egypt, but are now widely known as a Middle Eastern dish. The Copts of Egypt claim to have first made the dish as a replacement for meat during Lent – as they are quite hearty and a good substitute. Alexandria, being a port city made it easy for the Egyptians to export the dish and the name of it to other areas in the Middle East. Falafel’s have become so popular, McDonald’s even began to serve a “McFalafel” in certain countries!
I just adore falafel’s and they are such a great alternative to meats and fish. Perfect for a vegetarian or for someone just wanting something a bit different!
Christine Cushing's Falafel
- 1 1/4 cups dried slip fava beans (250 ml)
- 1 cup dried chickpeas (185 ml)
- 1 small white onion, quartered
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 small bunch, flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (5 ml)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds toasted, coarsely ground (5 ml)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds toasted, coarsely ground (5 ml)
- Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Dash Tobasco sauce, or to taste
- Water, to adjust moisture level if too dry of a consistency
- 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying (1 litre)
Minted Tahini Sauce
- 1/2 cup tahini paste (125 ml)
- 1/2 cup water (125 ml)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (10 ml)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (60 ml)
- 2 to 3 tbsp. lemon juice (30 to 45 ml)
- Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 4 to 8 Middle Eastern pita bread, depending on size of pita and serving portion of falafel balls
- Tomatoes, sliced, for garnish
- Cover both fava beans and chickpeas with cold water in separate bowls. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Drain and rinse the fava beans and the chickpeas. Rinse thoroughly under cold water until water runs clear. Set aside.
- Add white onions, garlic and green onions to a food processor. Pulse until a mushy consistency. Add parsley and continue to pulse until mixture is fine in texture and green in colour. Transfer to large bowl.
- Add the chickpeas and fava beans to the food processor. (Note: you don’t have to clean the machine with the onion and parsley mixture). Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to bowl with the onion and parsley mixture. Add baking powder, cumin and coriander. Season the mix with salt, pepper and tobasco. Stir to combine. Start adding water a little at a time until mixture becomes a dough consistency.
- Place vegetable oil into a saucepan. Heat oil to 300 degrees F. Mould the falafel mixture into 1½-inch diameter balls. Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes for best texture. Remove the balls from the oil and drain on paper towel. Make 24 falafels. Serve with tahini sauce.
Minted Tahini Sauce
- In a bowl add the tahini paste. Slowly add the lemon juice and water – as you add the liquid – the tahini paste will cease up but as you gradually add more liquid it will become smooth. Add the parsley, mint and salt and pepper. Check seasoning, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cut pita in half to make pockets and place 3 or 4 of the falafel balls into pita pocket. Top with sliced tomatoes and tahini sauce. Alternatively add the falafel balls onto the pita and top to garnishes and roll to make a sandwich. Serves 4 to 6.
photo credit: foodnetwork.ca & google images