Here, you'll find a falafel recipe that makes for a fantastic falafel sandwich from scratch.
This ubiquitous street food is an Israeli institution. Because it is so popular, recipes tend to be closely guarded secrets, for only slight variations are what make one version different from another.
We’ll get to the falafel recipe in a minute, but since a falafel sandwich is the Israeli embodiment of fast food, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you you can get perfectly good falafel from a box. So if you’re looking for a falafel experience in spirit as well as taste, you might want to consider using a falafel mix instead: just add water and fry or bake.
Normally, I’m a purist when it comes to cooking. If I can make something myself, why would I want to buy it? But in the case of falafel mixes, I make an exception. There are some excellent mixes available and they do make for a quick, easy and nutritious meal when I have to feed the kids in a hurry. Two of our favorite mixes are the Manischewitz Falafel Mix and Casbah's Falafel.
Still a die hard? Onward then – here’s the falafel recipe we like best:
1 C chickpeas – this can be dried chickpeas that have been soaked and cooked, or canned. 1 small onion, diced 2-3 Tbsps of fresh parsley, chopped 2-3 Tbsps of fresh cilantro, chopped 2 cloves garlic 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp coriander ¼ tsp red pepper flakes 1 tsp of baking powder 3-4 Tbsps of flour
Put the chickpeas and onion in a food processor and chop. Add in the garlic, cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes. Blend until well mixed but not smoothly pureed – you want the mixture a little coarse.
Sprinkle baking powder and flour on the mixture and process until dough makes a small ball. The dough should not be sticky. Add a little more flour if necessary.
Mix in chopped parsley and cilantro. Do not process more than strictly necessary or your falafel will turn green.
Roll dough into a ball, cover and refrigerate at least two hours.
Form dough into small balls about 1.5 inches across.
Heat about 4 inches of oil in a deep pot to 375 F. Deep fry falafel balls until browned. (Tip – if the balls fall apart, you need to add more flour to the dough.)
The latest Israeli thing is to stuff French fries into the pita, along with everything else. Sounds strange, but it sure tastes good! You might also want to throw in some shredded lettuce, sliced pickles, roasted eggplant … you get the idea.
Falafel burgers: Some people like the crusty aspect of falafel the most. Instead of making small balls, form the dough into flat discs, like thin hamburgers, and either fry in a pan like you would burgers or bake. (Frying results in a crispier burger, of course.)
Healthy Falafel: If you prefer to avoid the cholesterol busting aspect of this, you can turn this falafel recipe into a healthy dish by baking the balls instead. We much prefer our falafel this way, actually. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil, arrange the balls in a single layer and spray again lightly with olive oil. Bake in a hot over (400 F) until golden brown. You can do this with any ready-made falafel mix as well.
Falafel hors d’oeuvres: make the balls tiny and serve on a plate with toothpicks, surrounding a sea of hummus, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika.
Be’teyavon! (That’s Hebrew for bon appétit ;)
Photo credits: falafel sandwich by Mera136; falafel on plate by Kudumomo, both courtesy of Flickr under a CC by 2.0 license.