Derek's Incredible Falafel

I love falafel.  In a pita, on a plate, as a hamburger, or just about any way one could be eaten.  I didn't realize there was anything wrong with our falafel recipe until we went over to visit our friend Derek and his family and he let us try some falafel he'd whipped up.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  It was like a whole other world of falafel that I never even knew existed!  And to think we almost didn't try it because we'd already eaten dinner!
Turns out it is Israeli-style falafel where the chickpeas are not really cooked.  The beans are soaked for a minimum of 12 hours and then--without any additional cooking--ground up with the other ingredients, formed, and fried in oil.  The beans are then tender, but still with a fabulous, al dente, almost-but-not-quite crunchy texture.  Our old falafel recipe results in soft, fragile, smooth patties.  Derek's is chunky and chewy in a most delightful fashion-- though they are still a little fragile until you get them in the oil.    The recipe makes a lot.  But, its so wonderful that isn't really a problem.  But, we've also made half-batches before, too.
Derek's Israeli-Style Falafel (just ever so slightly modified)

1 lb dry chickpeas
1 onion
3-5 cloves of garlic
1/4 C flour
1/4 C vital wheat gluten

2 t salt
2 t cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/4 C parsley (optional)
oil, for frying

Soak beans overnight.  Do not cook.  
Process onion and garlic in food processor.  
Add all other ingredients except the oil for frying.  
Process until uniformly broken down into small bits.  
Refrigerate at least two hours.  
Shape into patties or balls--sometimes putting a little extra water on your hands helps.  This part can be a bid fiddly, but squeeze the dough and shape them gently as best as you can.  When they are added to the oil they develop a crust which helps hold them together.
Fry each side in oil until lightly golden.
I am hooked.  Matt and I have even eaten them for breakfast (top photo) just because we can.  That is how good they are.


  1. I tried falafel for the first time at a taste-test table in Whole Foods. It was paired with this yummy, white creamy dip. Alone, I wouldn't have liked it much, but with the dip it was DELICIOUS. I wish I could remember the name of the dip :-/

    1. The dip was most likely tzatziki--a sort of cucumber yogurt sauce. And as it would happen, I've never tried it. I put hot sauce on my falafel. I put hot sauce on, well, just about everything. :)

  2. Sometimes people have creme fraiche with falafel, too.

    Your recipe here sounds yummy. I'm sure you already know this, but in case you have readers new to cooking with beans and pulses, I wondered if it might be helpful to say that one should be careful about eating uncooked or undercooked pulses. Soya beans and kidney beans are toxic unless they are boiled. There's a very thorough article here that goes into it all.

    1. That link didn't work for me--it says the site is getting an upgrade. But, actually, Pen, I did not know that. Of course, I'd also never considered the prospect of eating any kind of bean uncooked until Derek brought it to my attention. I just sort of assumed you HAD to cook beans. But, this is all good to know. I shall have to look into it more. I'd also never heard of eating creme fraiche on falafel. Cool. I'm learning all SORTS of things today. I love that. Have a great weekend.


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