Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Falafel recipe

A reader asked for a falafel recipe and I went trawling for links, but I couldn't find one that was exactly what I do.  Mine is not authentic, but I have tried the authentic kind and failed miserably.  My food processor can't handle uncooked chickpeas, and without flour the balls fell apart.  So here is what I actually do do, which is easy and always turns out well (if I actually follow it).  You can tinker with the spices as much as you want to make them taste how you want, but don't leave out the flour.

See this shapeless mass? This is what happens if you leave out the flour.

Foolproof falafel

3 cans chickpeas
handful of fresh parsley or cilantro if you have them -- 1 T dried parsley will do if you don't
1 tsp cumin
garlic and onion, fresh or dried
1 tsp salt
sprinkle of cayenne
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda

Drain the chickpeas and grind them up in a food processor or blender.  You're not looking for smooth here.  Reasonably fine with a few chunks is good.  Process the herbs also, and then stir in all the other things.

At this point, try making it into a ball.  Does it actually hold together well and keep its shape?  If not, add more flour.  Less flour is for classier chefs.  You and I want something that'll hold together in the oil, so don't be stingy.

Heat a deep pan of oil to 350 degrees.  I use shortening because it can handle the heat and is not expensive.  Peanut is great if you have it.  Don't even attempt this with butter or olive oil or anything delicate.

When the oil is fully 350 degrees, shape the dough into balls or patties -- golf ball size or a little smaller.  Deep fry them for a few minutes, till they're brown and crispy on the outside.  Don't undercook them or you lose the entire point.  Drain them on paper towels.

The best way to serve these is in a pita with some yogurt sauce and cucumbers.  But you can also do vegan mayo or baba ganouj or whatever you want.  Or throw them on a salad.  It's all good.

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