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Falafel with Black Chickpeas

Falafel with black or white chickpeas! Use them in wraps, dip them in tahini sauce or just take a bite with a cup of tea!
Falafel

Did you also have oil-soaked, sloppy falafel that completely crumbled into the pool of oil? Do you have trouble shaping the falafel? Did you know that you can freeze falafel before frying? I have covered all those and more in this ultimate guide to making the best falafel from scratch at the comfort of your kitchen!
Falafels are made with soaked chickpeas and NOT cooked or canned
Drill that into your head or make a hand lettering poster and stick it on your kitchen wall! 😂 I am not kidding, I too forgot this when I went to help my friend make her first falafel! facepalm.

Falafel with Black Chickpeas


During 2015 Ramadan, I tried at least two falafel recipes from the Internet and was not happy with either.  One recipe had asked to cook the chickpeas, which was a disaster as it sucked all the oil, and the other recipe made me add ginger and garlic that was not authentic at all. Just before the last few days of Ramadan, I had nailed the perfect recipe of Falafel that did not break while frying nor did drink the oil. Isn't that what we want when we deep fry food?

So how come with black chickpeas? Well, it is funny to share, I had soaked black chickpeas to make Kerala Kadala Curry for weekend breakfast, but it never happened and when I drained it to put it back into the fridge, I realised I can make some falafel for the evening snack for chai...! :-)  We loved it and I am glad I tried it. But be assured the same recipe can be used with white chickpeas too!
This recipe works great for both black and white chickpeas! 

Can you use cooked chickpeas for falafel?

Nope. NO. NEVER. But, if you do not have other options, then don't try deep frying. You may try baking or pan roasting as they are already cooked. I am also thinking of dipping the patties in egg and then fry to keep it intact. Chickpeas are already a binder element so adding flour will only harden the texture. And do me a favour by not calling it falafels. 

Falafel Bowl

How do you get a falafel to stick together?

  • Make sure you don't add moisture into the dough. Moisture can come from two things here - if you did not drain the soaked chickpeas completely, and if you did not drain or spin the leaves thoroughly.
  • Apart from this, do not use water to process the mixture. The onions and leaves will release moisture that will help the soaked chickpeas to breakdown. Process only until all the chickpeas are ground to little finer than coarse. 
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 20 to 30 minutes. This will help you shape the dough or if you want to be fancy, use the falafel pattie maker. 
  • Then it only comes to the method of making the patties or balls. Don't squeeze but make a ball shape using only the palms of both your hands You may flatten it lightly.

Falafel Ingredients

Black or white chickpeas work the same way so you can replace without any change to the recipe. I recently clicked these pics when I made a batch. Sorry, they aren't black chickpeas but I hope the pics help. 
  • chickpeas (black or white)
  • garlic cloves
  • green chillies
  • parsley and coriander leaves or even mint leaves
  • red onion
  • spices - allspice, pepper, coriander and cumin
  • baking powder (optional)

Falafel Ingredients

How do you make falafel from scratch?

Here is the step by step images of making falafel from scratch.

make falafel from scratch

In a mixie or a grinder, or food processor, add the chunked onion, garlic cloves, green chillies, green leaves with a few chickpeas and grind to coarse.

make falafel from scratch

Add the drained chickpeas, all of the spice powders and pulse a couple of times and grind for a few seconds.

make falafel from scratch

Remember to stop, scrape down and continue the process until all chickpeas are finer.

make falafel from scratch

Like so. (took me about 5 minutes in my mixie grinder)


For those who want to know the kind of blade inside my mixie jar.


Shaped and ready to be fried or frozen.

How to freeze falafel?

Shape the falafels and line them on a flat tray. Freeze until every falafel is frozen completely. Remove and pack them in a ziplock bag or freezer-friendly box and freeze up to 2 months! 

How to fry frozen falafel?

When you want to fry frozen falafel, please do not thaw! From freezer into hot oil on a medium flame for 5 minutes turning them around to fry evenly. Thawing frozen falafel will add back moisture into it making them lose shape and suck oil while frying. 


Falafel Bowl

What is Falafel Bowl?

I came up with this Falafel Bowl idea when the Buddha Bowl was trending. I realized making a falafel wrap is messy both to make and eat. Agree? So why not add all the contents into a bowl and eat off it with poise. 😎 There is no rule what should go into the bowl but here is what I usually add to the bowl:
  • Tahini yoghurt sauce
  • Boiled eggs
  • Veggies like carrots, tomatoes, cucumber etc
  • Red onion slices
  • Greens like lettuce
  • Pomegranate
  • A drizzle of olive oil 
Nov 2018 - I made a batch for Falafel Bowl and captured the steps by step pics for my Instagram family.  

Falafel Recipe

Yields: 15 Falafels 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup black or white chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained completely
2 tablespoons onion or half of a medium onion, chopped roughly
2 large garlic cloves, chopped roughly
2 to 4 green chillies, chopped roughly
1 cup tightly packed leaves (mix of parsley and coriander and/or mint leaves), washed and drained completely
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Oil for frying 

METHOD

Making the dough
  1. In a mixie or a grinder, or food processor, add the chunked onion, garlic cloves, green chillies, green leaves with a few chickpeas and grind to coarse
  2. Add the drained chickpeas, all of the spice powders and pulse a couple of times and grind for a few seconds. 
  3. Remember to stop, scrape down and continue the process until all chickpeas are finer (took me about 5 minutes in my mixie grinder)
  4. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or for a day
  5. Add salt and baking powder only 10 minutes before frying if you want to fry the same day
  6. Mix thoroughly and adjust the spices 
If you want to freeze the falafel to fry later:
  1. Take out the dough from the fridge, add the salt and baking powder and mix thoroughly
  2. Make balls and line them on a flat tray
  3. Freeze until every falafel is frozen completely
  4. Remove and pack them in a ziplock bag or freezer-friendly box and freeze up to 2 months!
  5. Do not thaw frozen falafels. From freezer into hot oil on a medium flame for 5 minutes turning them around to fry evenly.
Shaping and Frying:
  1. Heat enough oil for deep frying - at least 2 inches of oil 
  2. Take a tablespoon of the falafel dough and make the shape of a ball like you do for ladoos using both hands. 
  3. Do it without adding too much pressure to prevent cracks.  Similarly, prepare the balls with all of the mixtures and at this point, you can freeze or refrigerate to fry later. 
  4. Drop a few falafels in the hot oil and fry them on low to medium flame until brown flipping occasionally to cook both sides. As the contents are not cooked prior, it is imperative we fry them on low and longer to cook through. 
  5. With a slotted spoon remove the fried falafels and place them in a colander or kitchen paper towel to get rid of any excess oil 
  6. Serve with yoghurt garlic sauce or tahini sauce, ranch dressing and some coffee or tea 
Notes:
  • If you find it hard to shape the falafel or it breaks while frying, which happens only if too much moisture is added, then try and fix it by adding some plain flour. Not more than 1 tsp.
  • Allspice is not garam masala but if you don't have allspice, the closest sub would be the pumpkin spice mix. 
  • A quick tahini yoghurt sauce would be to mix labneh, yoghurt, tahini, garlic minced, lime juice and salt - all as per taste
  • You may serve falafel with ranch dressing which we did try and loved it
Falafel is usually made with a combination of dried chickpeas and dried fava beans but I never tried with fava beans. So what are you waiting for? If you have never made falafels or made and had an oil-soaked lump, then give this recipe a chance and I am sure you will not regret it. 

Falafel



TRIED THIS RECIPE? 

I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaai so that I can see your creations!


Falafel Bowl

Contents of this post were updated on 12th March 2020

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