Falafel {Baked}

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!

Falafel-7

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.

Falafel-1

Throw everything into a medium blender jar or food processor.

Falafel-2

Pulse for half a minute till the chickpeas are mashed and everything’s good and combined.

Falafel-3

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.

Falafel-4

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.

Falafel-5

Pop into the oven and half hour later, voila! Don’t you just want to eat them out of your screen!

Falafel-6


FALAFEL {BAKED}

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.)
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