Disclaimer: No, I have not been frying falafel balls during my newborn’s naps. But that’s one of the things I was doing during my ninth month as I tried to prepare a couple of recipes for you in advance. And now we can all reap the benefits…
Anyone feeling nostalgic for Chanukah? So much that you’d make one more fried food if I promised you it was really good?
Glad you’re with me.
Falafel is one of those things that I’ve been meaning to make for months and months. (Also on that list? Homemade cream cheese, homemade french fries, and homemade Hershey’s kisses.) Why do I never make these things? No reason, really.
Except that in this case (and in the case of the french fries), I needed a candy thermometer that I didn’t have.
I definitely wasn’t going to find any among my Israeli neighbors. They don’t even use measuring cups (plastic disposable cups seem to be standard here). When one of my neighbors came over recently, she couldn’t believe I use a timer. Seriously, there’s nothing fancy about it — it’s the most basic timer with all of three buttons, no cute design or anything.
But if she thought that was a big deal, I knew she wouldn’t have a candy thermometer.
So it was only natural that I eventually borrowed one from our British friends. (Thanks, guys.) And now I can tell you with authority that if you can get your hands on one of those nice little kitchen toys, making falafel is really not hard at all. Plus, they’re so good they’re practically addicting…which is crazy because we’re talking about chickpeas and herbs, essentially.
Here’s what you do:
Start by pulverizing a bunch of things in your food processor. You’ll end up with a thick mixture that you stick in the fridge for two hours (yeah, don’t choose to make this at the last minute) and then roll into balls.
As you roll, heat up your oil. Watch the cool thermometer do its thing. When it reaches 375 F, transfer six of these puppies at a time into your pot. Do that with a slotted spoon so you don’t end up with a major burn — the oil will go all bubbly and crazy when it hits the falafel.
Let them hang out in the oil for one minute, then flip them over and give them a second minute. See? Nothing to it.
Slotted spoon in hand, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool off. They will be a beautiful golden brown, and they will smell wonderful. Fun stuff.
You know what to do next. Stuff a bunch of them in a warm, soft pita with things like israeli salad and techina. And then, depending on just how Israeli you really are, you can top it all off with french fries.
Clearly, I need to become more Israeli.
One year ago: Chocolate cake pop truffles
Tweaked from Foodie with Family
Yield: About 2 dozen falafel balls
- 2 (290-gram) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 20 oz. total, or 2 cups cooked, from 2/3 cup dried beans)
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (in Hebrew: cusbara)
- 5 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ tsp cumin
- 1½ tsp salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 12 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- canola oil, for frying
Additional awesomeness to serve with falafel:
- fresh pitas
- israeli salad
- chopped pickles
- french fries
1. Add chickpeas, onion, herbs, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper to a food processor fitted with the knife blade. Process until everything is very finely chopped, but not to the point that it becomes a paste.
2. Add baking soda and 8 tablespoons of flour and pulse again until evenly combined. Scoop the mixture into a large bowl, add the remaining 4 Tbsp flour, and knead them into the mixture. Gather into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours. (I put that in bold so you don’t get a rude shock when you try to make this 30 minutes before dinner.)
3. Line a large plate with paper towels so it’s ready for your fresh-from-the-pot falafel balls.
4. Heat about ¾ of an inch of oil to 375 F/190 C in a high-sided saucepan. Meanwhile, form the falafel batter into balls, keeping in mind that they will be pretty much the same size after frying. You should be able to get two dozen from the batch.
5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer six falafel balls into the oil at a time. Fry for 1 minute, flip them over with the spoon, and fry for 1 additional minute. Use the spoon to move them to the prepared plate. Serve hot or warm with your favorite fixings.