Falafel is a quick chickpea fritter either fried or baked. It’s a popular middle eastern street food. This is also a vegan and gluten-free appetizer.
Falafel is a highly nutritious snack that is not only delicious but also gives our body a complete boost of protein. At the same time, these are low in carb and good for healthy snack options if you are on a weight loss diet. Extremely beneficial for kids as well.
What is Falafel?
This is a deep-fried snack made with garbanzo beans or fava beans along with middle eastern spices. This is served best with tzatziki or tahini dip. You can also use this as a stuffing for your burrito or in pita bread. At times, zhoug (the spicy cilantro dip) replaces the tahini sauce also.
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans or fava beans are the key ingredient. This middle eastern snack was originated in Egypt. It used to be a street food in Middle East countries like Arab.
This was a vegetarian or even better vegan substitute for regular meatballs. Traditionally they are deep fried but if you are on a low carb diet you can bake the falafel as well. These are vegan and gluten-free also.
How to make falafel from scratch?
Again it’s all about playing around with the ingredients to add variations and creating recipes. The traditional ones have onion, garlic as secondary ingredients. You may get many other variation to this traditional falafel. In this recipe I have made plain falafel, carrots falafel and spinach falafel. This is such a fun to add color and variety to one plate. Again if we will talk about nutrition, this has all protein pack because of protein rich legumes and other fibre, vitamin and mineral from the vegetable you will use. So this is a complete nutritious dish for all.
One of the easiest and quick snack recipe in just 3 steps.
But since we need to soak chickpeas for 8 hrs, it needs little planning for this. This is best made from dry chickpeas, and not with cooked or canned chickpeas. Soak it overnight or for 8 hrs minimum.
I. Blend all ingredients
Then in a food processor or mixer, blend it roughly to a coarse mixture with other ingredients like onion, cilantro, spices. Don’t add water during this process.
Refrigerate for 1hr and let it sit for some time. You can also keep them in air-tight box in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 days. This is also freezer friendly. After making balls too you can freeze for future use.
II. Shape in to balls or discs
Next step, divide the mixture into equal portions. Grease palms and shape the mixture into balls or patties from this mixture.
III. Deep Fry or Bake:
Then either bake or deep fry the falafel.
Tips for best falafel :
Shall I use dried or canned beans for this recipe?
In middle eastern countries, garbanzo beans or chickpeas are used predominantly to make falafel. While preparing this dish don’t use canned garbanzo beans as they are already cooked and need a binding agent to form balls out of the mixture.
Always use dry chickpeas. Soak the raw garbanzo beans for 10 – 12 hours minimum or overnight. Then strain out the beans and blend it to a paste. Then keep aside the paste for 1 – 2 hrs in the refrigerator to set. The drier the paste is, the easier it will be to make balls and fry. Otherwise, the balls will split in hot oil and you will not like that all your work went in vain.
Remember, the garbanzo beans require water and heat for proper cooking. So probably we soak and pressure-cook to get softer beans. But for this recipe, it’s necessary that you shall not boil the beans before blending. Only one step is sufficient that is, soak it properly in water.
The rest cooking will be done once the paste comes in contact with hot oil. If you cook them first then it will be difficult to bind them without adding any flour. Here I have not added any flour or baking powder for this recipe. Yet these turned out really softer inside with a crunchy outside.
Nutrition of Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans:
- Rich in protein & fiber – helps in weight-loss
- High Manganese – acts as antioxidant – acts as natural sunblock
- Rich source of zinc & copper – maintains a strong immunity system
- Protein source – helps in building muscle
- Copper & Iron acts as energy booster
Also read my similar post: sesame falafel & beans Falafel (in process)
Recipe Card for Falafel
Falafel | How to Make Falafel
- Soak the chickpeas for 8 hours or over night.
- Then drain out the water and keep chickpeas aside for some times.
- Put chickpeas and all other ingredients mentioned in ingredient list above (except oil) in a food processor.
- Blend it to coarse paste in a food processor.
- Cover the thick paste and keep aside in refrigerator for 1 hour to set dry.
- Take out the mixture from refrigerator.
- Divide the mixture into equal portions (lemon sized balls)
- Grease palms and make the portions into small balls.
- Make sure there is no crack on the surface.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Drop one by one into oil.
- Make it in batches of 5 – 7 at a time.
- Fry till it's golden brown in color and cooked on all sides.
- Remove from oil and place on kitchen towel.
- Afterwards, serve these falafel with tahini or green cilantro dip.
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