A bowl of falafel on hummus with pitta

Falafel is extremely versatile and delightfully easy to learn how to make. Once you learn how make your own fresh falafel mixture, you’ll never need to suffer another dry packaged falafel again. With this recipe you’ll never need to put up with another disappointing falafel burger, you’ll be able to control the firmness of the texture.

Leave that can opener in the drawer and put down the tinned chickpeas (unless you want to make hummus). Gather a few fresh ingredients for a lesson in how quick and easy it is to make fresh falafel for yourself.

Whether you prefer an oven baked oil-free option or the more traditional deep fried version, falafel should be crispy on the outside with a soft, spicy herbed filled centre.  Falafel are best served warm, to cook falafel to order, you can keep a batch of pre-blended mix in the fridge. 

You can serve falafel throughout the day, it traditionally appears at breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a falafel plate with hummus and tahini, as part of a salad bowl, or wrap in a pita with tzatziki and pickled turnips.

Homemade Falafel

Falafel is widely used across the Middle East and unsurprisingly has many variations. Falafel from Egypt is commonly made from dried split fava (broad beans), whereas many other Middle Eastern countries use chickpeas. It’s not uncommon to use a combination, which is my preferred version. For the best results both the fava beans and chickpeas should be soaked over night before adding fresh herbs and spices. Start with the herb and spice measurements below, roll a small falafel, cook and taste. Add more of any ingredient you like. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 cup fava beans (or more chickpeas) 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder 
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander and parsley
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic – grated or finely chopped
  • 1/4 ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • chickpea flour if the mixture is too wet

Method:

The night before (ideally), or in the morning, put chickpeas and fava beans in a bowl, cover with cold water and set aside.

Drain chickpeas and fava beans,  put all the ingredients (apart from salt and chickpea flour) into a food processor. Blend until you have a green crumb like mixture, taste and season with sea salt.

Form a ball in a wet hand, if the ball is crumbly add a tablespoon or two of chickpea flour.

The size and shape of your home made falafel is up to you. A 3-4cm round ball is great if you are using a deep fryer, but if shallow frying or oven baking, flatten the ball into a disc about 2cm thick. 

The falafel mixture can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and cooked to order.

Fry in a deep fryer in golden and they float or heat oil in a deep sided fry pan and fry each side for 2-3 minutes.

The healthier option would be to oven bake, either with or without a light spray or oil. Bake at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes.

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