Falafel is a very popular vegan and Gluten-free snack recipe from the Middle East. It's made with chickpeas, fresh herbs, and a few Middle Eastern spices. You can enjoy them with a dip like hummus or stuff inside pita bread to make a Middle Eastern sandwich.
I first tried making falafel at home a few years back when I was in India. At that time I didn’t know anything about falafel and just saw its recipe in a Mediterranean cookbook of my mother.
I decided to make it because the recipe was very easy, I had all the required ingredients in the kitchen and the photo of the dish given in that book was very tempting. That was the only time I tried it before shifting to Dubai.
In Dubai, Falafels were all around us, just like samosa or pakora in India and we fell in love with them. Now we make them at home more regularly.
What is Falafel?
Falafel is a vegan Middle Eastern fritter made with ground chickpeas, herbs, and a few spices.
They are believed to be originated in Egypt but are very popular in the entire Middle East.
If you are a vegan living in or traveling to the Middle East or even visiting a Middle Eastern restaurant, then Falafel must be your favorite vegan thing to order.
In Dubai, whenever we step out to have a Karak chai (though Indian, Karak chai is very popular in UAE and is called by the same name), we never miss ordering a plate of piping hot Falafels.
What to serve with Falafel?
- Falafel is generally served with Hummus. You can also enjoy it with Muhammara or any dipping sauce of your choice.
- Another popular way of enjoying Falafel is by stuffing it inside a pita or any other Arabic bread, with some basic salad like Tabbouleh and a dip like Hummus. Falafel sandwich is also a very popular street food in the Middle East.
- If you can't find pita bread or any other Arabic bread, make the Falafel sandwich using normal breads.
Can Falafel be made with canned Chickpeas?
Yes, Falafel can be made with canned chickpeas too. However, for best results, I will recommend soaking dried chickpeas overnight and then grinding them with the other ingredients.
Do you need to cook chickpeas before grinding?
No, in this recipe you don't need to cook the chickpeas. They are only soaked for at least 7-8 hours and not cooked before grinding. They will get cooked on deep frying.
Why do my Falafels fall apart on frying?
Though I never faced this problem, a lot of people complain that their falafels fall apart on frying. If you are also facing this issue then it may be because of one of the following reasons:
- You are using canned chickpeas. If you use soaked dried chickpeas in the recipe, the chances of falafel paste not binding together will be very less.
- Another reason could be that you are frying them on a very high flame. Avoid doing that and always fry on medium heat.
- Slightly press the mixture before dropping into the oil to avoid breaking.
- If you still are not getting success then add a binding agent like flour to the mixture.
More tips to make the Best Falafel at home
Making Falafel at home is very easy and if you follow some basic tips, you will always get the best result.
- Instead of using canned beans, use dried beans, soak it overnight and then use in the recipe.
- Season the mixture properly with lots of garlic, fresh herbs, and spices.
- A lot of people don't add baking soda to Falafel but I will highly recommend doing that. It will help in making soft and fluffy balls.
- For a healthier version, you can also air fry or bake them.
More vegan snacks recipes from around the world
- Chickpea cutlets-India
- Vegan Sisig- The Philippines
- Chili baby corn- China
- Vegan Arabic sandwich- Middle East
- Banh bot loc chay- Vietnam
- Vegan Dutch bitterballen- Netherland
- Vegan Russian Veraniki-Russia/ Ukraine
- Chocolate Banana Spring rolls-Indonesia
- Vegan bitterballen-Netherlands
More easy vegetarian recipes from the Middle East
If you want to explore the Middle Eastern cuisine but not sure if there will be vegan or vegetarian recipes then don't miss to check the following links:
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Easy Falafel Recipe?
Easy Falafel Recipe
- 1.5 cups dried chickpeas you can also use canned
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 cup roughly chopped parsley
- 1 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
- ½ cup chopped spring onion green part only
- 7-8 fresh mint leaves
- ½ tbsp cumin powder
- ½ tbsp coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Salt as per taste
- Oil for deep frying
- Soak chickpeas in water for at least 7-8 hours or overnight. In the morning strain the chickpeas and discard all the extra water.
- Put all the ingredients except oil in a grinder and make a coarse paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Heat oil in a wok. Take a little portion of the paste in your hands and make small lime size balls by rolling between your palms. Deep fry the balls until they turn golden brown from all the sides. Take out on a kitchen paper towel. Keep aside
- Serve hot with your favorite dip like hummus or Muhammara. Or, fill them inside your sandwiches with some crunchy salad to enjoy a falafel wrap.
- Using dried chickpeas is recommended for this recipe.
- Make small balls of the falafel paste as they will increase in size after frying.
- For a healthier version, you can also bake or air-fry them.
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