Print the recipe card! Pantry Made Falafels
Although the name sounds exotic and quirky, falafels are simply fried balls or patties of mashed chickpeas/garbanzo beans. They are common in the Mediterranean and Middle East, either served as appetizers with hummus, tzatziki, and flatbread or stuffed into pita pockets with lettuce and tomato. Falafel patties also make excellent veggie-burgers!
Falafels are a great addition to your FoodStorageCookbook because they can be made entirely from pantry ingredients, can be made with nearly any bean or grain, and offer a tasty meatless option other than soy or TVP. This recipe makes 4-5 servings, or 3-4 burgers depending on thickness. Again, thanks to Indie for introducing me to this fun (and yummy!) way to enjoy beans.
1 c dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, or two 15 oz. cans (see notes)
2-3 c water, as needed (see notes)
½ tsp baking soda
¼ c dehydrated onion dices
¼ tsp garlic powder, or ½ tsp dry minced garlic
1 tsp dry coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp flour, as needed to form dough (see notes)
1 Tbsp dry parsley flakes
Oil for deep frying, preferably peanut or coconut (peanut oil is pictured, see notes)
In a medium saucepan, combine soaked chickpeas, water, baking soda and a pinch of salt. Bring to boiling, reduce heat and simmer until tender (about an hour). Drain chickpeas, reserving liquid. Omit this step if using canned beans.
In a medium bowl, add warm chickpeas and other ingredients, except the flour, and mash the mixture until thoroughly combined. You can use a food processor, but be careful not over-blend or your falafels may fall apart during cooking. You want the result to be a thick paste, just shy of becoming dough.
Start with 2 Tbsp of flour, and sprinkle more in a little at a time until your paste is just thick enough to form loose balls or patties. If the dough becomes too stiff or dry, adjust the texture by adding small amounts of the reserved cooking liquid.
Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball and slightly flatten, or divide mixture into 4 parts and form patties.
Heat at least 2 inches of oil to 350F/175C in a deep heavy skillet or kettle, and fry the falafels (in batches to avoid crowding) until golden brown (5-7 minutes), turning every couple of minutes to cook evenly and prevent sticking.
Remove the browned falafels with a mesh strainer or slotted spoon, and blot on a paper towel (if necessary) before serving hot with your choice of fixings.
- Chickpeas absorb a lot of water when soaking and cooking, often tripling in volume. It’s always better to add more water than less in a larger container than you think you need. For reference, I soaked slightly less than 1 cup of dry chickpeas in a quart of water in this 2-qt casserole dish overnight, which yielded slightly more than 3 cups in the morning!
- Note that you DO NOT want to heat-soak or long-cook the beans when making falafels, the tougher texture will actually help them stay together better when cooking. Soaking them overnight in cool water and simmering 1 hour is perfect.
- When deep frying, it is absolutely essential to use oil that can withstand the heat and has a very high smoking/flash point. You can use corn, sunflower or canola oil; but peanut or coconut oil is the best because it remains stable and healthy at high temperatures.
- Your oil must be at or above 350F/175C when you deep fry in order to immediately crisp the exterior of the food, which helps it stay together and keeps it from soaking up the oil. If your oil doesn’t immediately bubble up when you add your food, like shown in the instructions, your oil is NOT hot enough.
- At temps lower than 350F/175c you are boiling your food in oil, not frying it, which will make your food greasy, tough and unhealthy!.
- Deep fat frying is considered a dry cooking method. Foods deep-fried at the proper temperature are not greasy, and do not contain any more fat than baking or grilling
- If you don’t have a cooking thermometer that goes that high, you can check the temperature of your oil by dropping a kernel of popcorn in the oil, when it pops the oil is hot enough to begin frying. Another method is to drop a 1-inch square of bread into the hot oil, at optimal deep-frying temperature it will brown in 60 seconds.
- A note on flour – most people can use All-Purpose or Whole Wheat flour. If you are gluten intolerant, the small amount of flour called for is usually not enough to trigger a reaction; but this recipe will work just fine substituting rice or oat flour, or dry instant mashed potatoes, instead of wheat flour. I milled uncooked brown rice into flour for this recipe, and used the leftover to make Pringles. Rice is a comparatively soft grain to grind, and I only had to pass it through my mill once on the finest setting to get this very fine flour.
- If you don’t use wheat flour, or you’re having trouble with your falafels crumbling apart, try coating the finished balls or patties lightly with cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot before placing them in the fryer.
- You can make this recipe a dry mix “box meal” in your pantry by grinding your dry chickpeas into bean meal with a grain mill and placing all the dry ingredients together in an airtight container. When you’re ready to make your falafels, shake up your mix, stir 1 part mix with 3 parts water in a medium saucepan and simmer until the mixture forms a thick paste and no longer tastes raw (about an hour). Let the paste cool enough to form balls or patties, and deep fry as usual.
- Try other beans! This recipe and method works with nearly any bean, and is particularly tasty with fava, lentils, mung beans, and adzuki beans.