If you’ve been following the site this past week and had a wandering thought that may be, something was missing, that would make two of us. What’s bread and a few condiments without fat, little patties to tie it all together! So of course, today’s dose of Mediterranean deliciousness comes in the form of the last piece of this jigsaw – the falafel!
These crumbly, little chickpea patties are traditionally deep-fried but I’ve been on this health bender for a month (off sugar, fried food and suchlike), so these have been baked instead. I’m happy to report no loss in crumbliness or flavour AND a whole lot of brownie points for health! Being the heat-hater I am, baking also trumps frying because hello, NO HOT OIL FUMES! Stuff them in a wrap, dunk them in dips or skewer them with picked veggies for bite-sized appetizers – I can tell you once you’ve had these, there’s no going back!
Start with all the usual suspects in Mediterranean cooking. Chop up the onion, garlic and coriander.
Throw everything into a medium blender jar or food processor.
Pulse for half a minute till the chickpeas are mashed and everything’s good and combined.
Turn it out onto a counter and knead for a minute, so it’s all squishy and smooth. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and flatten them into little patties.
Arrange them on a greased baking sheet and generously brush them with olive oil. Don’t skimp here, totally slather it on! Oh and if you’re wondering why I only have seven on my sheet, I’d left one out for an experiment of sorts. Which I’m not going to talk about because, um, it bombed.
Pop into the oven and half hour later, voila! Don’t you just want to eat them out of your screen!
Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 30-45 minutes | Makes 8 falafel
1 cup boiled chickpeas (kabuli channa/ garbanzo beans) (or 2/3 cup dried chickpeas)*
1 medium red onion, chopped
2-3 tbsp chopped coriander
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp chilli powder or paprika
1 tsp cumin (jeera)
2 tbsp olive oil for the falafel & more for baking
Salt, to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- In a medium blender jar or food processor, blitz 1 cup boiled chickepeas till roughly crumbled. We don’t want a paste here!
- Add all the other ingredients to it and blitz once till everything is well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn the mixture onto a board or counter and knead it for a minute or so.
- Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and flatten each into a small patty, roughly ½” thick.
- Line a baking tray with parchment or aluminum foil and brush it generously with olive oil.
- Place the patties on the tray and brush each with olive oil.
- Bake the patties for 10-15 minutes till the bottoms are golden and crisp. Now remove the tray from the oven, brush the patties with more olive oil if needed, flip them and bake for 15-20 minutes till the other side is golden and crisp as well. Keep checking after 15 minutes to keep them from burning!
- To serve, wrap 2-3 falafels in a pita pocket, spread with hummus & tzatziki, garnish with slices of pickled onions and cucumbers! If all that’s a bit much, enjoy it as is with ketchup or your favourite dip!
*If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in 2-3 cups of water. They should have swollen to their full size by morning. To boil them, either pressure cook them for 4-5 whistles or use a large sauce pan, immerse the chickpeas in water and boil them for 40-45 minutes or till tender and mashable.
ADAPTATIONS & HACKS
- Falafels are traditionally made with fava beans or a mix of fava beans and chickpeas. Use whatever you have on hand!
- Experiment with the flavours – try cayenne pepper instead of chilli powder, add a bit of parsley or roasted garlic.
- You can also top falafels with thinly sliced salad vegetables and a simple vinaigrette (think lemon juice, tahini, olive oil etc.)