Falafel – crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – perfect!

Have you eaten homemade falafels?

If you love chickpeas and haven’t ever made your own falafels, you are truly missing out! I promise you, that once you make them at home, you will never again want to eat store-bought falafels.

Not only do they taste fantastic when they are just cooked, but they are incredibly easy to make. But I do have a few words of advice . Firstly, you must use DRY chickpeas and never be tempted to substitute with tinned, because they will not work. Secondly, for a sweeter flavour, I suggest you drizzle a little oil over the garlic cloves and roast until they are soft, rather than using raw garlic.

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What you need

  • 400g dry chickpeas
  • 1 small onion – roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley – chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander – chopped*
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • Vegetable, grapeseed or sunflower oil for frying

*You can use 1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds instead of fresh, if you prefer.

What to do

Soak dry chickpeas in a large bowl of cold water overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and place in a food processor. Add all the other ingredients (except the oil) and process until the mixture resembles fine couscous or breadcrumbs. You want the mixture to hold together in a ball, but don’t over process it, or you will end up with hummus.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and mix a little with a fork to break up any lumps.

Cover and place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour .

Heat approximately 5cm oil in a pan to 180°C (360°f).

Meanwhile, form the falafel mixture into balls using wet hands. I usually use about 2 tablespoons of mixture per falafel. You can make them smaller or larger depending on your personal preference.

You want the falafels to be fluffy inside, so try not to press too hard or handle them too much. The balls should stick together loosely at first, but should bind nicely once they begin to fry.

If the balls won’t hold together, return the mixture to the processor and processing a little longer to make it more paste-like. If they still won’t hold together, you can try adding 2-3 tablespoons of  chickpea flour to the mixture.

It is best to test oil temperature using one falafel. If the oil is at the right temperature, it will take 2-3 minutes per side to brown (5-6 minutes total). If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafels will not be fully cooked in the centre. Cool the oil down slightly and try again.

When the oil is at the right temperature, fry the falafels in batches of 5-6 at a time till golden brown on both sides.  Drain on kitchen paper.

Falafels are best served warm with Greek yoghurt, or for a more traditional option, serve with HUMMUS and tahini sauce.