How to make the best: falafel

Images: Charlotte Griffiths

Alex Rushmer shares a recipe for falafel: a vibrant, veggie, Middle Eastern classic

My first falafel, enjoyed while in Toronto at aged 16, was a revelation. It was fresh and bold and vibrant and spiced and hot and cool all at the same time. And it made a dribbly mess down the front of my shirt.

Since then it has been a firm favourite. My recipe changes often, but always, always uses dried chickpeas. You cannot make falafel with tinned chickpeas, so don’t even try...

This recipe makes many falafel, to be stored in the freezer until they are needed:  

Ingredients 

450g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water

One medium sized white onion, peeled and roughly chopped

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Two cloves of garlic, peeled

Two tablespoons chickpea flour

One teaspoon ground cumin

One teaspoon ground coriander

One teaspoon salt

Cooking oil, enough for deep frying 

Step-by-Step

Drain the chickpeas and place them in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped but not smooth – a good falafel should have some texture.

Pour into a mixing bowl then add the onion, parsley, garlic, chickpea flour, spices and salt to the food processor. Mix to a paste, adding a little water if necessary.

Combine the paste with the chickpeas to make the falafel mix. If it is too loose, add a little more chickpea flour, too thick add a little more water. Place the mixture in the fridge.

Heat the cooking oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat to 165° – do not overfill the pan. Using two spoons dipped in cold water, shape the falafel into balls and cook in the oil for five to six minutes, taking care not to colour them too much.

Remove to kitchen paper and allow any excess oil to drain off. Either eat immediately with flatbreads and as many raw and pickled vegetables as you can muster, as well as houmous and tahini, or chill and freeze for a day when you are short on time and in need of a great many plant-based foods in a single, convenient bread wrapper.