Falafel with black or white chickpeas! Use them in wraps, dip them in tahini sauce or just take a bite with a cup of tea! Falafels are naturally gluten-free and vegan patties made with chickpeas, herbs and spices. Deep-fried or baked, they are great in wraps and salads.
Did you also have oil-soaked, sloppy falafel that completely crumbled into the pool of oil? Do you have trouble shaping the falafel? Did you know that you can freeze falafel before frying it? I have covered all those and more in this ultimate guide to making the best falafel from scratch in the comfort of your kitchen!
Falafels are made with soaked chickpeas and NOT cooked or canned.
Drill that into your head or make a hand lettering poster and stick it on your kitchen wall! 😂 I am not kidding, I too forgot this when I went to help my friend make her first falafel! facepalm.
During 2015 Ramadan, I tried at least two falafel recipes from the Internet and was not happy with either. One recipe had asked me to cook the chickpeas, which was a disaster as it sucked all the oil, and the other recipe made me add ginger and garlic which was not authentic at all. Just before the last few days of Ramadan, I had nailed the perfect recipe of Falafel that did not break while frying nor did drink the oil. Isn't that what we want when we deep fry food?
So how come I used black chickpeas? Well, it is funny to share, I had soaked black chickpeas to make Kerala Kadala Curry for our weekend breakfast, but it never happened. When I drained it to put it back into the fridge, I realised I could make some falafel for the evening snack! 🙂 We loved it and I am glad I tried it. But be assured the same recipe can be used with white chickpeas too!
This recipe works great for both black and white chickpeas!
Can you use canned or boiled chickpeas for falafel?
Nope. NO. NEVER. But, if you do not have other options, then don't try deep frying. You may try baking or pan roasting as they are already cooked. I am also thinking of dipping the patties in egg and then fry to keep them intact. Chickpeas are already a binder element so adding flour will only harden the texture. And do me a favour by not calling it falafels. 🙂 Always use dried chickpeas for the best results. Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water for at least four hours or until they have doubled or tripled in size.
How do you get a falafel to stick together?
- Make sure you don't add moisture to the dough. Moisture can come from two things here - if you did not drain the soaked chickpeas completely, and if you did not drain or spin the leaves thoroughly.
- Apart from this, do not use water to process the mixture. The onions and leaves will release moisture that will help the soaked chickpeas to break down. Process only until all the chickpeas are ground to a little finer than coarse.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 20 to 30 minutes. This will help you shape the dough or if you want to be fancy, use the falafel pattie maker.
- Then it only comes to the method of making the patties or balls. Don't squeeze but make a ball shape using only the palms of both your hands You may flatten it lightly.
Black or white chickpeas work the same way so you can replace them without any change to the recipe. I recently clicked these pics when I made a batch. Sorry, they aren't black chickpeas but I hope the pics help.
- chickpeas (black or white)
- garlic cloves
- green chillies
- parsley and coriander leaves or even mint leaves
- red onion
- spices - allspice, pepper, coriander and cumin
- baking powder (optional)
How do you make falafel from scratch?
Here are the step-by-step images of making falafel from scratch.
In a food processor, add the chunked onion, garlic cloves, green chillies, and green leaves with a few chickpeas and grind to coarse.
Add the soaked and drained chickpeas, all of the spice powders and pulse a couple of times and grind for a few seconds.
Remember to stop, scrape down and continue the process until all chickpeas are finer.
Like so. (took me about 5 minutes in my mixie grinder)
For those who want to know the kind of blade inside my mixie jar.
Shaped and ready to be fried or frozen. For deep frying, you can shape them into balls but for baking, make patties or slightly flatten the ball shape so you have both sides flat surface.
How to freeze falafel?
Shape the falafels and line them on a flat tray. Freeze until every falafel is frozen completely. Remove and pack them in a ziplock bag or freezer-friendly box and freeze for up to 2 months!
How to fry frozen falafel?
When you want to fry frozen falafel, please do not thaw! From the freezer into hot oil on a medium flame for 5 minutes turning them around to fry evenly. Thawing frozen falafel will add back moisture into it making them lose shape and suck oil while frying.
What is Falafel Bowl?
I came up with this Falafel Bowl idea when the Buddha Bowl was trending. I realized making a falafel wrap is messy both to make and eat. Agree? So why not add all the contents into a bowl and eat off it with poise. 😎 There is no rule on what should go into the bowl but here is what I usually add to the bowl:
- Tahini yoghurt sauce
- Boiled eggs
- Veggies like carrots, tomatoes, cucumber etc
- Red onion slices
- Greens like lettuce
- A drizzle of olive oil
Falafel with Black Chickpeas
- 1 cup black or white chickpeas soaked overnight, drained completely
- 2 tablespoons medium onion chopped roughly
- 2 garlic cloves chopped roughly
- 2 to 4 green chillies chopped roughly
- 1 cup tightly packed greens a mix of parsley, coriander and/or mint leaves washed and drained
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon allspice powder
- salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Oil for frying
Making the dough
- In a mixie or food processor, add the chunked onion, garlic cloves, green chillies, and green leaves with a few chickpeas and grind to coarse.
- Add the chickpeas, all of the spice powders and pulse a couple of times and then process for a few seconds.
- Remember to stop, scrape down and continue the process until all chickpeas are finer (took me about 5 minutes in my mixie grinder).
- Transfer to a bowl, adjust the spices and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or a day.
- Add salt and baking powder only 10 minutes before frying.
Shape and Fry
- Take out the dough from the fridge, add the salt and baking powder and mix thoroughly.
- Shape them into equal-sized balls and line them on a flat tray. At this point, you can freeze them or refrigerate them for 10 minutes.
- Heat enough oil on a medium flame for deep frying. You need at least 2 inches of oil.
- Drop a few falafels in the hot oil and fry them on low to medium flame for 3 to 5 minutes turning them a few times until browned evenly. As the mixture is not cooked prior, it is imperative we fry them on low and longer to cook through.
- With a slotted spoon remove the fried falafels and place them in a colander or kitchen paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.
- Serve with yoghurt garlic sauce or tahini sauce, or ranch dressing.