The falafel comes from the Middle East. Its exact origin is the subject of heated controversy. But more and more specialists agree that it originates in Egypt. Indeed, a widespread theory states that the dish was invented in Egypt around 1,000 years ago by Coptic Christians, who ate it as a replacement for meat during Lent. And from the port city of Alexandria, the recipe would have been exported across the Middle East.
Falafels can also be eaten in sandwiches, accompanied by various raw vegetables of your choice (white cabbage, red cabbage, onions, etc.), inside a piece of open pita bread or a pancake rolled up like a wrap.
It can also be served with all kinds of sauces and toppings and can be used as a salad or as a main course. They are often found alongside a tahini sauce with sesame cream or a tzatziki sauce with Greek yogurt. Popular with vegetarians, falafels also make excellent garnishes with raw vegetables in pita sandwiches or wraps. They are sometimes used as meat substitutes in burgers or even as a garnish on veggie pizzas. Finally, falafels go perfectly with hummus, baba ghanouj, muhammara, or even tabbouleh for the greediest.
What is the secret to a successful falafel?
Never, truly never, use canned chickpeas. Even if it is more convenient! It’s important to soak dried chickpeas in cold water for 24 hours. Little tip: you can add baking soda to facilitate digestion. Dry them well afterwards. Also make sure you have fresh herbs on hand and good quality oil (peanut or olive). The oil should be boiling and never exceed 180°C.
Tips and tricks for making falafel ahead:
You can make the falafel dough ahead of time and freeze it. You will then take it out of the freezer the day before you cook them and prepare the meatballs when cooking.
You can save even more time if you want to serve falafels as an aperitif while enjoying the presence of your guests: prepare the falafels, fry them just to sear them (1 min.), Remove them from the bath, leave them cool on paper towels then freeze them. You will only have to immerse them frozen in oil a few minutes before serving.
Easy Authentic Falafel Recipe
Before starting the preparation of your falafels, it is imperative to soak the chickpeas or beans in a large amount of water for at least 12 hours. Once your legumes have swelled well, they are dried to prevent them from crumbling during cooking.
We start by mixing the chickpeas together with the onion, garlic, flour, salt, and spices of your choice until you obtain a consistency close to semolina. Add parsley and/or cilantro, and mix one last time, before leaving to stand for 1 hour under a tea towel. Then, form small balls, which are immersed in frying oil heated to 180 ° C. All you have to do is wait until your falafels are golden brown before draining them on absorbent paper.
It is quite possible to cook your falafels in the oven on an oiled baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes. Remember, however, to flip them halfway through.
The day before, soak the chickpeas in water, taking care to cover the chickpeas well
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Dry them with absorbent paper (they must be wiped well)
Pour the chickpeas into a food processor. Add the onions, garlic cloves.
Add salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, coriander powder, cayenne and baking soda.
Add the coriander, parsley, and or mint
Mix in small pulses the batch, Scrape the sides and mix a second time until you get a texture that is neither too fine nor too thick between the couscous and a dough. The mixture should hold, but not be like hummus.
Pour the mixture into a bowl. Do not hesitate to remove the large pieces of chickpeas.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat some oil in a pan over low heat (I use my deep fryer).
Form falafel balls by having wet your hands beforehand, this allows the dough not to stick to your hands.
Dip the falafel balls in the hot oil. as soon as they brown on one side, turn them over.