Homemade Falafel

In today’s post, I am sharing a delicious homemade falafel recipe. Falafel is a very popular Middle Eastern food. They are fried balls or patties that you make from ground chickpeas and a mixture of fresh herbs and spices. Falafel goes perfectly with pita bread and tahini sauce. Tahini sauce is a popular Middle Eastern sauce that you make primarily with sesame seeds.

Falafel balls are usually deep-fried. But if you want a healthier option, you can bake them as well. See my Note below the recipe instructions. Also, if you want to make this recipe gluten-free, simply don’t add the wheat porridge/bulgar. Add any gluten-free flour blend instead. Let’s start!

Directions

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  1. Prepping the chickpeas: Place the dried chickpeas in a large bowl filled with cold water to soak for 4-5 hours or overnight and then drain out the water. If you are using canned chickpeas, drain out the liquid very well.
  2. Prepping the wheat porridge/bulgar (optional): If you decide to use wheat porridge, then soak it in water for 1/2 hour and then drain out the water. If you decide to make it without the wheat porridge, then skip this step.
  3. Place the roughly chopped parsley, cilantro, garlic cloves, green chilies, onion, green onion, salt, gram flour, sesame seeds, spices, and chickpeas into a food processor. Add the wheat porridge OR the flour (whichever you are using) on top. Blend all the ingredients just until they become a crumbly texture, but not completely pureed.
  4. Remove the chickpea mixture into a large bowl and add in the baking powder and gram flour. Mix them in well. TIP: You should be able to form small balls from the mixture, without it sticking to your hands. If it is sticking, add in enough flour so that it doesn’t stick.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  6. After 2 hours, start taking handfuls of the chilled chickpea mixture and form it into balls. TIP: You can also shape the mixture into small patties. Oil your hands lightly to form the balls easily.
  7. Take a deep pot and heat oil (at least 3 inches full) over medium-high heat. Add the balls into the hot oil. Fry the balls for about 6 minutes or until they turn golden brown in color. Keep turning the balls every few minutes. TIP: Oil should be hot that it sizzles and bubbles gently, but it should not be so hot that it splatters or burns. You can always add one ball in to test the oil temperature.
  8. Place the fried falafel balls onto paper towels to drain excess oil. Fry the remaining balls. NOTE: See note below for baking option.
  9. Prepping the Tahini Sauce (optional): Place the oil, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and sesame seeds in the blender. Then blend the mixture until it forms into a fine paste. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and drizzle on a little olive oil and sprinkle on some paprika powder.
  10. Serve the falafel with pita bread and drizzle on the tahini sauce. Garnish with chopped green onion, green pepper, and tomato. Alternatively, you can snack on them as is or place them in salads for extra protein.

Storage: You can store the leftover falafel mixture or cooked falafel in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Yield: About 20 balls

Note: For a healthier option, you can bake the falafel instead of frying them. Preheat your oven to 375° F and grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Then shape the chilled chickpea mixture into patties instead of balls. Place them on the greased baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes. Then flip them over and bake them for about 10 more minutes or until they are golden brown.