International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Falafel

Falafel (Middle Eastern fried chickpea patties)

(Middle Eastern fried chickpea patties)

Image Creative Commons by binaryape

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Falafel is the original veggie burger and is a common dish throughout the Middle East. It is found in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and is especially popular with Palestinians. In Egypt it is known as tamiyah or taamiyah. Israelis sometimes call it the "national food of Israel."

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Chickpeas, dried -- 1 cup
  • Breadcrumbs -- 1/2 cup
  • Garlic, crushed -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Parsley, minced -- 1/4 cup
  • Flour -- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt -- 1 to 2 teaspoons
  • Baking powder -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground coriander -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cumin -- 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric (optional) -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. Place the chickpeas in a large saucepan and add water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and then cover tightly and remove from heat. Let set for 1 to 2 hours to soak.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them with fresh water. Place the chickpeas, breadcrumbs and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the chickpeas break down into small pieces the size of breadcrumbs. Do not overprocess to a puree.
  3. Remove the chickpea mixture to a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients except for the oil and mix together well. The mixture should have a fairly dry, crumbly texture. Add a little water if it is too dry to form balls with your hand. Adjust seasoning to taste. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls or ovals and then flatten slightly.
  4. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375°F, or heat 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Drop patties a few at a time into the hot oil and brown well on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the browned from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining patties.
  5. Falafel can be served on its own with taratour sauce. Or stuff it in pita bread halves with tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and eat it like a sandwich.

Falafel Variations

  • Tamiyah (Egypt): Falafel is usually made with fava beans in Egypt. Substitute some or all of the chickpeas with small, dried favas.
  • Instead of breadcrumbs, use a piece of pita bread. Just process it into crumbs in the food processor first.
  • Some recipes call for the addition of 1 egg. This helps hold the mixture together as it cooks.

Video

A short video clip showing falafel being made at a street-side shop in the Middle East.

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