Sunday, 7 June 2015

Homemade Falafel

Readers, I went off on a food adventure this week.  I attempted to make the humble falafel.  Mr WhatClaireBaked loves a falafel.  We aren’t sure of the origin of these – perhaps readers can help me out?

We believe these are middle eastern, but they also feature heavily within Greek restaurants.   Recently in Brussels, we uncovered an amazing Greek take out for late night wraps, which had falafel hidden in the bottom.

Last week we had our own theme night, with homemade tzatziki, chicken gyros in pittas and the falafel as an accompaniment.

These are quite time consuming, although I did manage these on a Monday night and we had dinner by 8pm, so not the worst.

Please, please, please don’t skip the chilling or freezing part – they won’t work.  Also, make sure the oil temperature is always at 350F or they won’t cook.  You could make these in the oven, but I wanted to push the boat out and deep fry them, the proper way.

Happy Falafeling!

Falafel Balls

Ingredients (makes around 18 pieces)

1 can chickpeas
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Zest and Juice of 1 lime
½ red onion
1 teapsoon parlsley
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/6 cup plain flour


  1. In a food processor, blitz chickpeas, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, lime juice and zest and the chopped onion.  Start to pulse.  Add in the herbs and pulse some more.  The mix may need scraped from the sides of the processor.  Blitz until paste like.
    Start to blitz, then add herbs

    Make a paste, then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix
  2. Transfer to a bowl and add the baking powder, salt and flour.  Thoroughly mix in.
  3. Refrigerate the mix for 2 hours or if pushed for time, freeze for around 50 minutes.
  4. When time is up, remove from the freezer and shape into 18 equally sized round pieces.  I used a melon baller to help with this.
  5. Pour sunflower oil into a deep, heavy based pan, to around 2.5in up from the base and heat.  Using a sugar thermometer, keep an eye on the temperature until it reaches 350F.  Don’t put the falafel in before this.
  6. Cook in batches of 6.  Drop into the oil and cook for 3 minutes, then turn falafel and cook for another 3 minutes.
  7. Drain on kitchen towel to mop up excess oil and serve immediately, with tzatziki. 

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  1. Falafel are common in a few countries across the middle east. Our local falafel place is run by a Lebanese family but you can also get them in Israel and other countries. I think Egypt have a similar dish but it's made with broad beans rather than chickpeas (don't quote me on that). While I've eaten many a falafel, I've never managed to successfully make them. I think the refrigeration step might be the missing link, so you've inspired me to try again!

    1. Mandy, thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and comment. I appreciate the response on the origin of falafel - it's interesting to see it's available in so many places. Best of luck trying this recipe out - I did read that skipping the refrigeration does make them fall apart. Hope it goes well!

  2. Mmmm, I love falafel, but I've never actually made them myself! I love the idea of a themed evening, might give that a go if this good weather lasts

    1. Thanks Sally. Hope you had time to try the recipe out.