A school friend of mine mentioned that she wanted to make falafel. I told her that they were super easy, regardless of the fact that I’d never actually made them. I mean, I’ve eaten enough of them and I’ve worked in a restaurant that served them… soooo, they seemed easy enough to make. These ones turned out pretty good, regardless of the horrendous picture to the right.
Falafel sandwiches are one of those vegan-by-default fast food staples that everyone loves. Although, a lot of people don’t think to make it themselves, which I guess is fair, since most people probably think they need a deep fryer to cook them. Not so. We can easily, and safely (sort of), fry in a small saucepan filled with about 3 or 4 inches of canola oil.
I’ve included a simple tahini dressing below that you can douse your falafel sandwich in.
1 19oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup red onion, diced
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Small handful each of fresh parsley and cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for frying
1. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Pulse until mixed together and fairly smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, just mash it up well in a big mixing bowl.
3. Remove falafel mixture and place into a large mixing bowl. Form into small golf ball sized shapes and flatten slightly.
3. Pour canola oil into a small saucepan until there’s about 3 or 4 inches of depth. Over medium heat, heat the oil to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.* If your oil begins to smoke, turn it down/off. Oil fires are not fun and can seriously mess you up! Drop falafel balls into the oil and fry for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until dark brown on the outside. It helps if you only fry two at a time with a metal slotted spoon (like in the picture below), so that they don’t break apart on you. Another way to make sure they don’t break up while frying is to not touch them with your spoon or tongs once you’ve dropped them in the oil for at least 30 seconds.
Note: If you don’t want to deep fry them, you can broil them in the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and put the rack to the highest position, just below the heating element. Flatten the falafel balls into thick disks and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. They should be nice and brown on each side.
Makes: 12 to 14 falafel balls
*If you don’t have an oil thermometer, one way to tell if the temperature is hot enough is to drop a small piece of bread into the oil. If it browns in about 20 to 25 seconds, the temperature is good. If it takes much less than that, it’s too hot. If it takes much more than 30 seconds, wait a bit longer… low temperature frying results in oily, soggy, and tasteless food.
Basic Tahini Dressing
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon tahini
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
¼ teaspoon sea salt
In a mixing bowl, vigorously whisk together all the ingredients until well incorporated. If needed, season to taste with extra lemon juice or salt.