One middle-eastern cuisine many of us have probably encountered along the line is falafel. They're deep-fried patties of ground chickpeas or fava beans, and they make a perfect little appetizer, or even a main ingredient in a homemade gyro. The mood struck recently, and we couldn't help making our own.
For our recipe, we used a mixture of chickpeas and fava beans to get the perfect texture and base flavor. We then seasoned them with coriander, cumin, cayenne, and a few additional herbs. We didn't want to use up too much oil in deep-frying, so instead we relied on pan-frying our fritters to get the perfect crunch without them becoming too greasy. Keep reading below for our favorite recipe...
(makes 12 pitas)
1 cup dried chickpeas
3/4 cup dried split fava beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, quartered
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon lemon juice or more to taste
grapeseed oil for frying
Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with water by 4". Soak for 24 hours, checking occasionally to make sure you don't need to add more water to keep the beans covered.
Drain the beans and transfer to a food processor with all of the remaining ingredients except the oil. Pulse until minced but not pureed. Add water tablespoon by tablespoon if necessary to make sure the machine is able to work. You want to mixture is as dry as possible, though. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning to taste. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Form the mixture into balls a little smaller than golf balls and flatten just a little. In a nonstick pan, heat 1/4" grapeseed oil on medium high heat until it sizzles when a small piece of falafel is added. Turn the heat to medium.
Add just one falafel to begin with and fry until all sides are a deep golden-brown (about 6 to 7 minutes). If it browns too quickly, turn the heat down a little. If the falafel sticks to the pan, dredge the falafel in a little flour. From there, cook the remaining falafel in the oil. Serve with pita bread and tahini sauce.