We love falafel, but like a lot of our restaurant faves, we’ve always been intimidated to make them at home. Through developing this recipe, we found that they are actually quite easy to make and much cheaper than buying pre-made falafel.
Apparently, the origin of falafel is controversial.The dish most likely originated in Egypt, and was possibly influenced by Indian dishes like channa tikki (channa = chickpeas, tikki = small croquette).
The secret to a perfectly crisp and fluffy falafel is to use DRIED CHICKPEAS (not canned). If you don’t have time to soak overnight, you can prepare your chickpeas in a stovetop pressure cooker or in an Instant Pot. We’ve provided three ways to prep your chickpeas in the cooking directions.You will also need a food processor to make your falafel mix.
It is traditional to fry falafel, but since we are not big fans of the mess frying makes, we’ve offered directions for both frying and baking.
Cooked falafel also freezes well (reheat from frozen in a 350° oven for 15-20 minutes), so you might want to think about doubling the recipe if you’re making the effort.
As with any recipe, we recommend reading through the whole recipe before starting!
Medium-large bowl, 5-7 qt stovetop pressure cooker, or Instant Pot (for preparing dried chickpeas)
Pick out any twigs, stones, clumps of dirt, or broken beans. (Easiest way to do this is to spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.)
Here are three ways to prepare dried chickpeas for cooking:
In a medium-large bowl, cover 2 C dried chickpeas with 3” of water and soak 8-12 hours at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the fridge.
Drain and rinse.
In an Instant Pot, add 2 C dried chickpeas and 3 C water and cook for 2 minutes.
Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then move the pressure release valve to venting to release any remaining pressure.
Drain and rinse.
Stovetop Pressure Cooker
In a 5-7 quart stovetop pressure cooker, add 2 C dried chickpeas and enough water to cover by 1”.
Cover and bring to pressure over high flame. When it comes to pressure, turn the heat down, just so it maintains pressure.
Cook for 35 minutes.
Drain and rinse.
Make Falafel Mix
NOTE: You may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your food processor.
Place drained, rinsed, and cooled chickpeas into the bowl of the food processor.
Add parsley, cilantro, garlic, onion, Masi Masa Ras El Hanout Spice Blend, and salt
Pulse food processor until ingredients are roughly minced and combined.
Remove blade from food processor, replace cover on bowl and place in freezer for 1 hour or refrigerate for at least two hours and up to overnight.
Once the falafel mix is cool, stir in baking powder and toastedsesame seeds to the falafel mixture with a spoon until well incorporated.
Press falafel mixture into a ¼ C measuring cup, then gently shake falafel out onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
NOTE: Don’t let the oil get too hot. Maintaining a temperature of 375° will allow the falafel to slowly crisp and become a dark golden brown AND fully cooked inside. To check temperature, use a thermometer or stick a wooden chopstick or tip of the handle of a wooden spoon into heated oil. If bubbles start surfacing from the bottom of the chopstick at a steady pace, oil is ready. (If the bubbles are rapidly surfacing, your oil is too hot.) If your oil is/gets too hot, lower heat and check temperature before attempting to fry falafel.
Heat 4 C vegetable oil over medium heat until 375° or passes the “wooden chopstick/spoon” test above.
Gently place falafel in heated oil, being careful not to crowd pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Using a slotted spoon, remove falafel from oil, and set on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place falafel about 1 inch apart.
Drizzle falafel with a touch of olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes until golden and crispy.
Serve your falafel as part of a meze (appetizer) plate with olives, feta, cucumber tomato salad, hummus, pickled vegetables, and pita or a crusty bread. Or, stuff falafel in a pita with hummus, lettuce, pickled vegetables, and hot sauce. Falafel also makes a great after school snack.
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