Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made using ground chickpeas, some fresh veggies & spices. It is deep fried patty or ball, served as snack or in salad bowl with hummus, tahini sauce or Yoghurt dip. Also, It can be stuffed inside pita pockets, sandwiches or wraps.
The word Falafel also spelled as “Felafel”, is derived from the arabic word “Falafil” which is plural of word “Filfil” meaning pepper. The origin of Falafel is a controversial topic but most of the sources mention “Egypt” to be its place of origin & later it got popular in other middle eastern countries. I like to read about the food & local cuisnes of different countries & cities. While reading about various dishes in middle eastern cuisine, I was surpised about one common ingredient in most of the dishes i.e. ‘Chickpeas’. Apart from Hummus, Falafel, Balela Salad; chickpea is frequently used in various curries, soup & shawarma recipes.
Though Falafel is known to be made using chickpeas but sometimes ground favabeans are also used in combination to make falafel mixture. In this post, the falafel recipe is comprised of chickpeas only. It is easy & quick recipe that can be easily made at home. Chickpeas are also essential part of plant based or vegan diet as they are rich source of protein, fibre & carbohydrates.
This is a simple fuss-free vegan falafel recipe & completely gluten free too. It has just few ingredients & if you follow the exact steps, I am sure you will nail it in first attempt itself. Traditionally Falafel balls are deep fried but you can also make them in Appe pan or Air Fryer for a healthier version. I have shown all three methods in this post. The ingredients & process of making falafel will be same in each method, the only change will be in last step i.e. the cooking method.
I like the combination of Falafel & hummus the best. You can even serve it with Tahini sauce or Yoghurt Dip.
In case you are planning a ‘Mezze’ or middle eastern snack platter, do check out Lavash Crackers recipe too as they are very simple to make & make an excellent addition.
One of the key highlights about falafel balls is the versatile ways it can be used. You can make it part of your salad bowl by topping it up with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, olives & generous drizzle of Tahini sauce. Stuff it inside pita bread with some lettuce, onion slices, cucumbers, sauces & you have a wholesome yummy meal ready. Whenever I am feeling lazy to cook, I order Falafel wrap from ‘Fasoos’ (fast food chain) where you get hot falafel patty, chutney, mayo & fresh veggies, wrapped in freshly cooked whole wheat paratha.You can even use them in sandwiches/burgers as meatless patty substitute.
Some of the kep tips or learnings which I am sharing by my experience:
- Fresh veggies like onion, coriander & garlic etc are added in the mixture which not only impart flavour but also add some moisture to the falafel balls. Don’t become over-enthusiastic & add too much of veggies as this will increase the moisture content & you will not able to roll balls out of it. (Been there, Done that 😄!!)
- Fry on Medium-Low flame,if the oil is too hot the falafel balls will quickly get brown from outside without the inside getting cooked properly.
- Keep the raw falafel balls in refrigeraor to set completely. If you want to keep it little longer than below mentioned time then keep it in airtight box to prevent outer covering from drying.
- Though by following the exact recipe & steps you should be able to make falafel, still if your batter has too much moisture or you are not able to make patty/balls using it, adding some bread crumbs will solve the problem.
I have also shared a Youtube video for the same recipe. You can check it out too. If you like the recipe, please subscribe to the channel too.
Hope you will like this cripsy delicious Falafel recipe !!
List of Ingredients: (Makes 20 pieces)
- Chickpea (Chhole)- 1 cup
- Chopped Coriander (Dhaniya)- 1/2 cup
- Garlic Cloves-4
- Medium Onion-1
- Green Chilli-1
- Lemon Juice-2 tsp
- Salt- 1.5 tsp (or to taste)
- Red Chilli powder-1/2 tsp
- Black Pepper (Kali Mirch)-1/2 tsp
- Cumin Seeds (Jeera)- 1.5 tsp
- Soda bi carb (Cooking Soda)-1/4 tsp
- Oil – For frying/cooking
Steps To Prepare:
Rinse chickpeas well under running water to wash off all the impurities. Soak chickpeas for 6 to 8 hours in fresh water. Soaking is an essential step, so please dont skip it.
I generally soak chickpeas overnight. If you want to soak them little longer, remember to change the water in between. Below is the pic of chickpeas after 8 hours of soaking.
Once the chickpeas are soaked, drain all the water & place them on a sieve (over a bowl) for 15 minutes to drip off all the excess water.
Transfer the soaked chickpeas in a grinding jar. Add all the vegetables- chopped corainder, onion, garlic cloves, green chilli & lemon juice. The vegetables impart a fresh flavour to the falafel while also providing enough moisture to keep them soft from inside.
Add all the spices & soda bicarb to the above jar. The spices can be adjusted as per your own taste.
Grind them well. As we are not going to add any liquid, it is better to grind the mixture in pulses & if required use a spatula to scrape off the sides. Once the batter is ready, taste it & adjust the salt, lemon juice or other spices if required.
Mixer Grinder Used:https://amzn.to/3gBd89X
Transfer the mixture in a bowl make falafel balls out of it. Here, I have divided the entire mix in 20 balls of 1.5 tbsp (roughly) each. One tip I would like to share is not to make the balls too bigas it increases the cooking time plus it increases the chance of being raw from the centre. Keep these falafel balls in fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour to set completely.
In this step we well be deep frying the falafel balls. If you want to make them in appe pan, check out the section below. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai. In batches of 4-5 fry the falafel balls on medium-low flame. Don’t fry them on high flame as this will lead to quick browning from outside without letting the insides getting cooked properly.
Transfer these falafel balls on a tissue paper to drain any oil.
Crispy Falafel balls are ready. Serve them hot with Hummus, Mayonnaise or Tzatziki dip (Yoghurt Dip).
Falafel Balls In Appe Pan (Aebleskiver Pan)
If you wish to avoid deep frying falafel balls, you can make them in Appe pan, also known as “Aebeleskiver Pan”). The falafel tastes almost as the deep fried ones. You will need just 3-4 tablespoon oil to make them in this pan. Just make sure the size of falafel balls is such that it is slightly smaller than the size of pan cavities as it helps in rotating them while cooking.
Brush some oil on Appe pan cavities & let the pan heat a bit. Place the falafel balls & drip some oil on top of them as shown below. The oil coating prevents them from drying.Keep the flame to LOW.
Rotate the balls using a knife or silicon spatula to let it cook from other side too.
If the oil is soaked up, add little bit more & cook from the remaning sides till falafel is cooked evenly from all sides.
Falafel in Air Fryer
You can easily make falafel balls in air fryer too. You can add a teaspoon or two of olive oil in falafel mixture to prevent drying from inside. Also, generous brushing of oil on the exteriors during air frying helps in even cooking and beautiful golden colour on top.
1. Brush some oil on raw falafel balls & also on grill of air fryer. Brushing oil on grill prevents the balls from sticking to it.
2. Preheat the air fryer at 180 degree Celsius. Once preheated, air fry falafel for 15-20 minutes. The time varies from brand to brand so keep an eye after 15 minutes. After 5 minutes of cooking time, brush some olive oil on top.
3. After 10 minutes the balls will start to cook from outside & they will not be sticky or soft anymore. Gently shake the basket & let the falafel cook from all sides.
Delicious crispy healthy Falafel Balls are ready to serve!! Both Appe pan & Air Fryer is made in lesser oil & if you are someone who avoids deep frying, this is going to be an absolute treat.
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Keep cooking, Keep sharing 😊😊 !!