Though I have always been a falafel fiend, after my visit to Israel I began a quest to actually make excellent falafel. Though falafel itself is a very simple food, the amount of recipes, ways of making it, and countries that it is a culinary staple in are vast. During my search for a yum-tastic recipe I learned quite a lot about those joyous little balls of deliciousness.
My love for falafel began curbside, at a food truck in NYC…where else! Every New Yorker has a food truck phase sooner or later. My love for falafel deepened after a 3:00 AM visit to Cheep’s, where I discovered the glorious $2.50 falafel that one can purchase nearly 24 hours a day (honestly, who really wants falafel between 5:30 and 10:30 in the morning anyway). Once in Israel, I found myself packed into a crowd of falafel-craving pedestrians in a hole-in-the-wall shop, standing shoulder to shoulder with cooks yelling back and forth at each other and dishing out falafel. Whole new level, epic falafel. Naturally, after returning to the states I wanted an option outside of food trucks and Cheep’s, and thus began my falafel quest.
My first go was sub-par, and for some strange reason the recipe I found had parsley instead of cilantro. Totally counterproductive for taste. Round two wasn’t much bettter…
However, as of a couple of days ago after tackling my third attempt I believe I may be headed in the right direction! As soon as I was done melding all of the ingredients in a food processor I had hope… the green hue was looking more proper this time.
I still need to perfect the consistency and frying process, and tweek the measurements for fully epic taste, but the finish product wasn’t bad! I give you falafel with salad…
For those of you looking to venture into the land of home-made falafel, I suggest starting with this great recipe from Haaretz. Not only are they a great Israeli news publication, but they have an epic food and wine section. Try the following recipe…
1 lbs. chickpeas (dried, not cooked)
4 garlic cloves
2 bunches of cilantro
1-2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (optional)
2 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
Canola or corn oil for frying
1.Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain.
2. Grind the chickpeas, onions, garlic and cilantro in a meat grinder. Add the chili, cumin, paprika, coriander, ginger, salt, flour and baking soda and mix well.
3. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a frying pan to a medium heat.
4. Form 1” round balls using a special falafel tool (or simply using a spoon or wet hands) and fry until the falafel are golden brown and are cooked through.
5. Serve in a pita bread with tahini sauce and Israeli salad.