We had tried falafels a couple of times many years back, but never attempted to make them ourselves. I started trying out various recipes about 4/5 years back. They used to be a complete disaster – always splitting open when I would try them, or the taste was not quite right. So after trying a dozen different recipes, I have finally come to this, which is a combination of reading the labels of ready to make falafels and a recipe book. The trick to it is to make sure the consistency is right. There is a very good place to eat in Covent Garden (London) which does ‘just falafs’, where I had once tried a particular falafel, thats how I came about adding a simple relish of carrot and beetroot for this recipe. Now I am happy with the combination of crunchy, tangy and sweet with a hint of spice.
I find the best thing about falafels is that it has the main food groups, you have wheat, pulses, vegetables and dairy, a full combination for a vegetarian. That is why it is a good complete meal, excellent for picnics or to eat good food on the go. This is a very good children friendly recipe also. To go with this I sometimes make a simple salad of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, with a simple dressing of lemon juice, black pepper, olive oil and ground cumin seeds.
I mix the pulses – chickpeas & black eye beans, however you can just do it with one or the other if you like. Normally I make my own hummus, but sometimes if I am short of time then I buy the ready made ones.
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours, plus overnight soaking time Cooking time: 1 hr Serves: 4
12 to 16 wholemeal or flavoured pitta
250g plain or flavoured hummus
450g black eye beans, soaked overnight
200g chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 medium onion
1 bunch coriander chopped
2 large cloves of garlic
25g plain, wholemeal or chickpea flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda bicarb
sunflower oil for frying
For the relish
1 small carrot grated
1 small beetroot grated
4 tbsp natural set yogurt
1 tsp ground cumin
For the salad
6 iceberg lettuce leaves finely shredded
2 tomatoes chopped into cubes
2 inch piece cucumber chopped into cubes
1) Rinse and soak the chickpeas and black eye beans overnight in warm water. Following day drain and rinse them and place in a food processor and grind into a rough breadcrumbs consistency.
2) In a food processor grind the onion, garlic, coriander to a fine paste. Mix with the crushed chickpeas and black eye beans, adding the cayenne pepper, salt, soda bicarb and cumin powder. Gradually mix it all together with a little flour (add this as you require it), the mixture should be able to hold its shape yet still be soft.
3) In a bowl mix together the grated carrot and beetroot with the yoghurt and ground cumin seeds, set aside in the fridge until needed. Chop the salad ingredients, mix together and set aside until required.
4) Heat oil in a frying pan for shallow frying, and drop in the falafel mixture into the hot oil (you can either do this by hand or with a spoon), it should be about 2cm size balls. Fry for about 3/4 mins on medium heat, until they are golden brown on each side, remove with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on kitchen paper.
5) Warm the pitta bread as per the manufacturers instructions, cut open and spread a generous amount of the hummus. Place the falafel ball and then the relish, two more falafels and the salad, you are ready to serve them warm. Enjoy 🙂