Falafel

A versatile vegetarian snack that's good to eat at almost any time.

Vegan. Hands-on time: 10 mins. Total time: 20 mins.

Contributed by Mike Lewis (July 2011).

Falafel

Photo © Veg World

Falafel is a favorite snack among vegetarians - and with good reason. As well as being very tasty, it's high in protein and low in saturated fats, and so makes an excellent alternative to meat in a variety of dishes.

Falafel is also very versatile. The traditional way of serving it is to stuff two or three pieces in a pita, along with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and a dollop of tahini. But it can also be eaten - hot or cold - as an appetizer or as part of a main course salad. Or you can just add it to a hot tomato or mushroom sauce and serve with rice, pasta or whatever else you like.

Although you can buy off-the-shelf falafel mix, it's not much more difficult to make it from scratch (the entire process takes less than 20 minutes), and the results are usually much better.

The recipe calls for gram flour, which is essentially ground chickpeas - it's also used in making pakora, papadums and the like. If you don't want to buy a whole sack of it just to make a batch of falafel, you can use wheat flour instead.

The quantities given here will make about a dozen falafel. That's about four portions as an appetizer, or two as part of a main dish.

Ingredients

Method

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Combine all the ingredients except the parsley and oil. Mix to form a thick paste. The easiest way of doing that is in a food processor or blender. If you don't have a suitable tool, you can at a pinch use a potato masher instead.

Add the chopped parsley. Mix well.

Form the mixture into balls, each slightly larger than a walnut. Coat each ball in a little extra flour.

Fry the falafel balls in plenty of hot oil for about ten minutes. When ready, carefully remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, and drain on a kitchen towel.

The falafel can be served either straight away or allowed to cool.

Note on quantities and temperatures:
Quantities are given in American (cups), imperial (oz, fl oz) and metric (g, ml) units. Do not mix the units - use one or other system throughout the recipe.
See also How much does a cup weigh?
oz = ounces, fl oz = fluid ounces, g = grams, ml = milliliters, tsp = teaspoons, tbsp = tablespoons.
Oven temperatures are given in degrees F (Fahrenheit) and C (Celsius).
For fan-assisted ovens, reduce the temperature by 20F or 10C.