When I heard there is a Middle East theme as one of the AFF cook-alongs, I knew I had to make falafels. We had a bloggers gathering months back and we each decided to make something that would adhere to AFF themes. Of course I have never made falafels in my life and the drama I had to endure setting out to put it together was rather ridiculous. First, the chickpeas or garbanzo beans that I got the first time round did not work at all. Then I tried shaping the falafels using two spoons together and was so finicky I gave up half way.
But the results in the end were well worth it for it was everything that I’d hoped for. Crispy, full of flavour and just a delight to eat. In the end, I used a cookie mould (about 1.5cm thick) and cover the other end with foil. I packed on the falafel mix and then drop them into the hot oil. This way, they’re all the same size.
I also made some side dishes to go with the falafels. Normally, you’ll eat wrapped in pita bread but because there were other dishes at the gathering, I decided to skip the carbs. The white sauce is called cacik made with cucumbers, yogurt and minced garlic. The other one is just a simple tomato salad.
When I initially purchased the dried chickpea, I came across this type only where I was. It was roasted dried chickpea. I thought to myself, ‘Well, chickpea is chickpea…you just need to soak them before usage right?’ But what a disaster, the roasted ones did not expand at all (above). As you can see from the picture, there was hardly any difference than the normal one, which I had to frantically go to another shop to purchase. The roasted one after soaking tasted more like, yellow lentils. The type you’d add to curries. So FYI in the future…don’t purchase dried roasted chickpea unless the recipe specifically says so.
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (soaked in water)
3-4 garlic cloves
1 handful coriander, stalks and all
1/2 handful fresh parsley, stalks and all
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
2 tablespoons flour
Oil for frying
1. After soaking the chickpea, drain the water.
2. Place everything (if you can) in a big food processor.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Add the egg and flour.
4. Blend everything in pulses first. Once the chickpeas have broken down, set it to blend for 10 seconds till you have a mushy paste, but still you can see granules of the chickpeas.
5. If the paste or mixture does feel too wet to work with, just add a little flour, just so you can mould it into discs with your hands.
6. Heat oil in a pot for frying. Shape the mixture to discs or oblongs and drop into the hot frying oil in a pot.
7. When they’re quite dark and crisp, take them out, drain them and eat with accompaniments or wrapped in a pita bread.