Pan Fried Falafel

My kids recently had the pre-made falafels you can buy in a bag at the grocery store and got hooked.  It’s convenient without a doubt, but I am of the philosophy that homemade is surely tastier, more eco-friendly, and more economical than store-bought.  Falafel is quite easy to make, but I’ve always been thrown off by the prospect of deep frying, from the perspectives of health, safety, and mess.  I’ve tried making baked falafel, but it lacked that yummy crisp exterior.  So, I have settled on the middle ground – pan frying. 

You do have to soak the chickpeas ahead of time, but that only takes about 45 seconds of your time.  After that, I think this takes about 15 minutes, and that makes enough for leftovers.  My kids don’t like tahini sauce, but I highly recommend it.  Tahini is a great source of calcium, so use it whenever you can.  You could also stir some tahini sauce into the batter; I’m going to try that the next time… 

By the way, this recipe is from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair.  I have altered the directions a bit. 

  • 3/4 cups dried chickpeas, soaked 10-12 hours and drained
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best, of course)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced   
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce or chili powder
  • 1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini sauce to serve

Place chickpeas in a food processer.  Process until broken into small pieces, scraping sides as necessary.  Add lemon juice and continue to process until finely ground, but not paste.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, saute onion in olive oil until soft.   Add salt, garlic, coriander, and cumin and saute for a few more minutes.  Add to chickpeas along with pepper, baking soda, hot sauce, and parsley.  

Turn the skillet back to medium and add oil (recipe suggests coconut, but I use olive oil) to cover the pan generously.  Firmly squeeze mixture into balls with your hands and flatten into small patties.  Place on skillet, leaving enough space to flip them easily.  Once browned on one side, flip and brown the other side.  Place on paper towels and continue to cook until all of the patties have been cooked.  Serve with Tahini Sauce* and your choice of garnishes.  Enjoy!

* I find that making a tahini sauce is very individual.  Here is a recipe from Feeding the Whole Family, but add more or less lemon juice, garlic, etc. to suit your taste.  How much water you use will also depend on what you are using it for, adjust salt accordingly.

Process in a blender or food processor until smooth:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons (more or less)   
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (or use 1/2 teaspoon salt)
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 3/4 cup of water

Taste, adjust seasonings and liquid, and enjoy!

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