Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish made of ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. It is a nutritious and tasty vegetarian and vegan option that can be enjoyed in various ways, including as a sandwich, salad topping, or appetizer. While falafel is readily available at many Middle Eastern restaurants, making it at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. In this article, we will provide tips and tricks for making delicious falafel from scratch.
Gather the Ingredients
To make falafel, you’ll need a few essential ingredients, including chickpeas, onions, garlic, fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro, cumin, coriander, and baking powder. It’s important to use fresh ingredients to get the best flavor and texture. If possible, buy your chickpeas and herbs from a local market or grocery store that has a high turnover of fresh produce.
Preparing the Falafel
One of the most crucial steps in making falafel is soaking the chickpeas. Soaking helps to soften the chickpeas, making them easier to grind and giving the falafel a smoother texture. Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight or for at least 12 hours. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well before using them.
Once the chickpeas are soaked, it’s time to grind and mix the ingredients. Use a food processor or blender to grind the chickpeas, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs into a coarse mixture. It’s important not to over-process the mixture, as it can become too smooth and affect the texture of the falafel. Add the spices and baking powder to the mixture and mix well.
Forming the Falafel
Forming the falafel mixture into balls or patties is a crucial step in the process. It’s important to get the right consistency so that the falafel doesn’t fall apart during cooking. To test the consistency, take a small amount of the mixture and form it into a ball or patty. If it’s too dry, add a little water or olive oil. If it’s too wet, add a little more flour.
Form the mixture into small balls or patties, about 1-2 inches in diameter. You can use your hands or a falafel scoop to form them. Place them on a plate or tray and refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Cooking the Falafel
There are two main ways to cook falafel: frying and baking. Frying gives the falafel a crispy exterior and tender interior, while baking produces a healthier version with a slightly softer texture.
To fry the falafel, heat oil in a deep frying pan or pot to 350°F. Fry the falafel for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally.
To bake the falafel, preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the falafel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush them with olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, turning once halfway through cooking.
Falafel is typically served with a variety of accompaniments and toppings, including hummus, tahini sauce, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles. You can serve falafel in a pita bread or wrap, on top of a salad, or as an appetizer with dipping sauce.
Making falafel at home is a fun and rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy this delicious Middle Eastern dish in the comfort of your own home. By following these tips and tricks, you can create fal