Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Falafel Kerfuffle

I was SO excited about finally making falafel. I had been planning it for ages. I bought some of those lovely, nutty chickpeas back from France which I planned to soak specifically for making my falafel.

And so, what recipe to use ? Although I love Moroccan and Middle Eastern cooking, I had no recipe for falafel, so online I went and I found this one at Foodie in NY web site:

Of course I modified the recipe slightly (when don't I ?) So, for me, it went as follows. I knew I would be making the falafel so I put the chickpeas in cold water to soak a few days before. I left the peas to soak and soak, and soak a little bit more...Actually until Biscuit Boy pointed out that there was a kind of 'foam' forming on the top of the water, and he questioned whether they were really still safe to eat. I looked up online and checked that the beans were 'safe' - and I soon put Biscuit Boy right !

This is what I used:
175gr chickpeas
275g frozen edamame beans
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 chopped picked red chillies (this was instead of red pepper flakes)
handful chopped parsley
handful chopped coriander (cilantro)

2 tbsp chickpea (besan) flour (this was instead of plain flour-I wanted to stay on the chickpea theme)
1tsp ras el hanout spiece mix
1tsp cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1 preserved lemon (chopped) (added this for extra 'depth of taste' ?? yeh I know - I'm not sure what I mean either !)

This is what I did:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 deg. c.
2. Put all of the ingredients in the food processor.
3. Form the mix into falafel style balls...

.. but hold on !!! My mixture is TOTALLY NOT forming into balls. Actually, it is doing the actual most opposite of that, it is completely falling apart in my hands, There is NO WAY this is forming into balls. But, why or what has happened ?? What have I done wrong ??? AND THEN IT DAWNED ON ME.

I had forgot to cook, to boil the blinking-flipping chickpeas. Oh damn and blast, and every bad word I can absolutely think of but not type. So, what to do now ??? My beautiful 'soaked-for-days' chickpeas, all of those lovely ingredients. I wanted to cry. But I didn't. So, I thought to myself I only need to boil the chickpeas, why don't I do that ! This is what I did next:

4. Tipped all of the mix out of the food processor into a saucepan. Added enough boiled water to cover the peas (and of course everything else !) added a lid and set to boil for ten minutes.

5. After ten minutes I kept checking until the water had been absorbed by the peas, of course my peas had already been whizzed up in the food processor so they had gone quite mushy - as they are supposed to, and as I didn't want them to dry out too much, I drained them and kept them on the 'mushier' side.

6. To dry them out a little before forming them into balls, I added 1tbsp chickpea (besan) flour, 2tsp lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a half teaspoon of cumin. I added this because I felt the boiling of those lovely herbs, spices ans juices had made them a little bland and it all needed a bit of a resurrection.

7. I then did as I should have done earlier (!!!) and formed them into balls which I then pressed flat to make little disks. I placed these on a oiled baking sheet and baked for 20 mins until browned and smelling lovely.

NOTE: Do check your falafel after 15 minutes as the amount of time needed to cook really does depend on their size. Big balls take longer than little ones.

I served these in pitta with all the usual salad items. Yum ! As usual, disaster averted and photos to follow ....


  1. o0o0 i like the healthy alternative of baking them!

  2. Thank you for your comment Patrick. Despite loving food, I am always trying to find a way to 'save' calories without compromising taste. :o)


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