I LOVE falafel.
I love it at Taim in Manhattan, and at L'as du Falafel in Paris, in the Marais.
But it was time for me to try it at home again, since the last time I tried it, the balls fell apart in the oil and it was a total disaster.
A few recipes say "ONLY USE DRIED CHICKPEAS, canned won't work!".....well to them I say "YOU ARE WRONG".
I used Julie's tried and true recipe and these were as good as the real deal.....using canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
For your first time I suggest making little patties, unless you are confident enough to roll the falafel balls around in oil.
As for accoutrements for your falafel sandwiches......I love marinated or roasted eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes and yogurt sauce, like I get in France....but you can eat these balls just naked or drizzled with sauce.
I took liberties and used avocado and pickled onions (because I had them) and we LOVED the combination.
Also, I didn't make the usual yogurt sauce, but instead a traditional Lebanese taratour sauce, which is a Middle Eastern sesame lemon sauce.
I highly suggest you try this....the sauce was fantastic.
Here's how to make the falafel:
1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained
1 small purple onion (or a small chunk of one), chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
pinch dried chili flakes
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
canola or other neutral vegetable oil, for frying
I followed Julie's directions on how to make the falafel to the letter.
Whiz the ingredients just until combined (leave a bit chunky, you don't want paste), about 3 quick pulses, scraping down the sides with a silicone spatula.
Add in the flour and baking powder and pulse again until combined.
Empty mixture into a bowl.
Form small balls or small patties with your hands and lay on a baking sheet until ready to fry.
I used a commercial grade non-stick skillet and vegetable oil to fry.
Heat about 1/2" of oil until hot but not smoking.
If using balls, you will have to stay on top of them, and roll them so all sides brown, if using patties, you can just cook with one flip. You choose.
Cook the balls about 30 seconds on each side if rolling, about 2-3 minutes total cooking time. You want them golden on all sides.
If making patties, cook about 1 minute on each side.
Using a slotted spoon, remove to a paper towel lined platter to blot.
Warm pita bread and place 2 falafel balls in each pita.
Top with avocado, pickled onions, or cucumber and tomato, whatever you like.
Drizzle with sauce and cilantro.
Here is how to make the delicious taratour sauce:
1/4 cup of tahini (I use SOOM)
1-2 tbsp of water (depending on the thickness of the tahini)
juice of a lemon
1 small clove of garlic, grated on a microplane
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp of Sriracha (a squeeze or two)
Mix the sauce ingredients together with a fork and taste.
You might like it hotter, or more lemon juice.
Drizzle over the falafel and enjoy this vegetarian lunch.