Falafel (with Garlicky Tahini Sauce!)


I make falafel all the time, and keep meaning to write up a recipe to share. The truth is, I make them so often I don’t really measure anymore – I add a bit of onion, some garlic, a bunch of cilantro stems, a bit of heat in the form of a jalapeño or pinch of chili flakes, and some baking powder to lighten them. Sometimes I add a spoonful of flour — any kind – which isn’t necessary, but will help them hold together a bit. Some people refrigerate their falafel mix overnight to let the texture and flavours develop, so really this is a great make-ahead kind of thing that you can cook quickly, without even having to preheat the oven. I often plan for a batch of naan at the same time, and ladle some of the hot oil from cooking the falafel into a cast iron skillet to cook it just as fast.

As for the tahini sauce, it can be all or mostly tahini, or all or mostly plain yogurt, infused with garlic, with a squeeze of lemon and big pinch of salt. I generally eyeball about equal parts tahini and yogurt with a clove of garlic and squeeze of lemon, but it’s the kind of thing that’s completely dictated by taste. Also – it gets better after a day or two in the fridge. Really you could make both components ahead of time and have them ready to cook when you’re ready for dinner.

Yields4 Servings

1 1/2 cups (approximately) dry chickpeas

1 small shallot, a chunk of purple onion or a few green onions

1-2 garlic cloves, peeled

a handful of cilantro (or about 1/3 cup chopped stems-if you like cilantro!)

1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped, or a big pinch of chili flakes

1 tsp cumin

1-2 Tbsp flour (any kind-optional)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

canola or other mild vegetable oil, for cooking

1

The day before you want to make falafel, put the dry chickpeas in a bowl or container and add enough water to cover them by a couple inches. Let them soak overnight, and for up to a day.

2

When you’re ready to make falafel, drain the soaked chickpeas and put them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse, scraping down the side of the bowl, until it’s well blended and you have a mixture that holds together when you squeeze it.

3

Heat an inch or two of oil in a heavy, shallow pot until it’s hot enough that a scrap of bread sizzles if you dip it in, or if you dip a wooden spoon in, the oil bubbles around it. If you have a thermometer, aim for 350-375F. Shape the chickpea mixture into small balls, patties or quenelles and cook in batches in the oil until they’re deep golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

4

Makes a dozen or so falafel.

Ingredients

 1 1/2 cups (approximately) dry chickpeas

 1 small shallot, a chunk of purple onion or a few green onions

 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled

 a handful of cilantro (or about 1/3 cup chopped stems-if you like cilantro!)

 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped, or a big pinch of chili flakes

 1 tsp cumin

 1-2 Tbsp flour (any kind-optional)

 1 tsp baking powder

 1/2 tsp salt

 canola or other mild vegetable oil, for cooking

Directions

1

The day before you want to make falafel, put the dry chickpeas in a bowl or container and add enough water to cover them by a couple inches. Let them soak overnight, and for up to a day.

2

When you’re ready to make falafel, drain the soaked chickpeas and put them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse, scraping down the side of the bowl, until it’s well blended and you have a mixture that holds together when you squeeze it.

3

Heat an inch or two of oil in a heavy, shallow pot until it’s hot enough that a scrap of bread sizzles if you dip it in, or if you dip a wooden spoon in, the oil bubbles around it. If you have a thermometer, aim for 350-375F. Shape the chickpea mixture into small balls, patties or quenelles and cook in batches in the oil until they’re deep golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

4

Makes a dozen or so falafel.



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