This article was written for Fethiye Times by Ligia Lugo from The Daring Kitchen.
Falafel is one of the most popular delicacies originating in the Middle East. Its popularity has spread across all continents, thanks to the easy preparation, amazing taste, and crunchiness that makes it a go-to snack or appetizer.
Falafel is made from legumes, mostly chickpeas, mixed with healthy spices and herbs, rolled into balls or patties, and fried in hot oil or baked in the oven.
The result is a crispy golden-brown patty with a tender middle that gives you the yumminess.
A typical serving
Six small Falafel patties are plenty to satisfy your appetite. Serve them as a protein topping on your favourite salad.
Use them as the main filling in tasted pita bread with chopped romaine, chopped bell peppers, sliced tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, or any food of your choice.
This nutritional and delicious delicacy is straightforward to make at home, and so you don’t need to go out for a snack or hire a professional chef.
Suitable for vegetarians.
Making falafel at home
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- Spices of your choice (cumin, black pepper, and cinnamon work magic – you can use ½ teaspoon of each)
- 4 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 cup fresh herbs (you can use parsley and cilantro, ½ cup each)
- Baking powder (optional)
- Dried spices
- 1 teaspoon salt
Falafel is an easy recipe to make at home. Just remember to make time for the preparation.
Soak dried chickpeas in a few inches of water for at least four hours to rehydrate – this process is essential since it replenishes the moisture lost in the chickpeas and kind of creates the original look and feel of fresh ones. Feel free to use any other type of legume depending on your preference. You can prepare ahead by soaking overnight and storing the chickpeas in the fridge. One more thing, don’t give in to the idea of using canned or cooked chickpeas because dried ones give a spectacular taste.
Put your chickpeas, herbs, pepper, salt, garlic, baking powder, and other spices in a food processor and blend until you achieve a mixture of small pieces. Be careful not to over-process the mixture until it’s too smooth. In case food processors aren’t your thing, it won’t hurt to finely chop the ingredients into tiny pieces and whisk them manually. The taste will still be the same anyway!
Refrigerate – Once you have a mixture of the right texture, cover it in a bowl and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Longer refrigeration will still work just fine. With your mixture well-refrigerated, it’s time to get to the cooking!
There are different methods of cooking Falafel – baking, griddle or deep-frying. We know that as much as deep-frying yields tasty and crispy foods, it’s not the healthiest option.
The best and healthiest falafel can be cooked with an electric griddle* however, as not everyone owns one, for this recipe we will bake the falafel in the oven.
*For those who are interested, there is a guide on electric griddles at The Daring Kitchen.
Let’s bake away!
Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coat the baking sheet evenly with cooking oil.
Take your refrigerated mixture and scoop small portions, shaping them into small patties of about ½ -inch thickness. Feel free to vary the diameter depending on your preference, just don’t make them too wide.
Gently place the falafels on the oiled baking sheet, ensuring that no two falafels touch each other. This helps to promote even cooking.
Bake for up to 30 minutes, flipping the falafels at certain intervals until they all look golden brown and well-cooked on both sides. After all, that’s where the crispiness comes from.
Take them out of the oven, serve with your favourite accompaniment, and enjoy the home-made sweetness.
One serving of falafel contains about 350 calories, 31.8g carbs, 13.3g protein, 4.9g fiber, vitamins B6, A, and D, folate, magnesium, sodium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, and many more. Even better, falafel has zero cholesterol, and you can use customized ingredients if you want gluten-free falafels.
Ligia loves experiencing new cultures through foods and travels. Her hobby is experimenting with different cuisines.
Find more of her recipes at The Daring Kitchen.