24 July 2010

Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Falafel. You just can't say anything bad about it. I friggin' LOVE it! I've been on vacation for the last few weeks, and had some falafel while I was gone. Since I got home a couple of days ago, it's all I could think about. So, I decided to ask for a little help from some fellow food bloggers (floggers?) and sort of combined a mish-mash of their recipes to make my own special mix. I've never fried anything before, so I was a little nervous, but it turned out really, really well. This is definitely going to be a permanent recipe in my repertoire!!

I didn't use canned/tinned chickpeas. I used dried chickpeas that I soaked for 18 hours in a large bowl of water. So, I can't guarantee how they would turn out if you used the canned variety. I bought my dried chickpeas from an organic vendor at my local farmer's market, but you can also find them in the ethnic foods aisle near the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods. Since I soak dried beans, this isn't really a dish you can just decide to whip up and eat right away...it takes a little planning. But, it is worth it and I swear you will not regret the time it takes to soak the beans. Another little tidbit: I didn't measure my spices, but I am pretty good at estimating amounts for recipes. But, as always, taste as you go so you get the tastes you like.

I used grapeseed oil for my frying, but you could use veg oil or peanut if you really want. I chose grapeseed because it has a very mild taste and less fat than some other oils. It is somewhat expensive if your store is like mine and has very little selection (they only had 1 brand of this oil), but you may have more luck at a WholeFoods. I used a deep saucepan so that I wouldn't have oil spatter all over my stove. I only put about 1 1/2 inches of oil into my pan. You may want to go deeper if you choose to make falafel balls instead of patties. Either way, you want the oil to just cover the falafels. I suggest using a candy/frying thermometer because you want your oil to be 350 degrees F in between batches. It's important that your oil doesn't get too cool or too hot between batches.

Here's My Recipe (Makes about 20 falafel patties that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter):

  • 1/2 lb dried chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves (2 for falafel & 1 for sauce)
  • Oil for frying (again, I used grapeseed oil)
  • 2 TB dried parsley flakes
  • 1 TB sea salt
  • 3 TB fresh lemon juice (1 for falafel & 2 for sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Soak your chickpeas for at least 12 hours, but I suggest a bit longer because mine were still sort of hard at 12 hours. I liked mine at 18 hours best. Put your chickepeas in a large bowl and cover with water until the water is 2 inches higher than the beans. Cover and let set on counter or in fridge for your selected time. Then, drain well and put chickpeas into a food processor.
  2. Add onion, 2 cloves garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, 1 TB lemon juice, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, chili powder, cayenne and garlic powder into the food processor. Pulse repeatedly until the mix isn't pureed, but is getting kind of close. You'll need to scrape down sides of the food processor several times. Add baking powder and pulse a bit more. Taste frequently and adjust the spices until it tastes good to you.   
  3. Put the oil into your pan and heat on medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, use your hands to shape your mixture into either patties or balls. I suggest making them while the oil heats because these cook really fast and you won't have tons of time between batches. I also turned my oven up to 225 degrees F. and put a paper towel-lined cookie sheet on a rack. Putting the cooked falafels on the sheet will keep them nice and warm in-between batches.
  4. I could put 4 falafel patties in my pan at one time. Leave room so they aren't touching so they don't get raw spots or get stuck together. It took about 2 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second side. Also, because I am wary of hot oil, I used a slotted spoon to put the patties into (and take them out of) the oil. No splashing or worrying about getting burned for me. Remove from the oil when the falafels are a dark brown and place them on the cookie sheet in the oven.
  5. Let your oil heat back up to 350 degrees F before you add more patties into your oil.
  6. When all of your patties are cooked and are in the oven, it's time to make your sauce. In a bowl, whisk together tahini, water, 2 TB lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove and salt/pepper. Should be thick, yet thin enough to drizzle (in my humble opinion).
  7. Serve your falafels on a pita with sauce and veg or just eat them with the sauce and a fork. Either way, you will love them!

1 comment:

  1. I just made falafel the other day. It's one of my favorite things to eat in the world :) This looks like a great recipe!