Adventures in Falafel Making - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 10-17-2015, 02:18 PM
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Adventures in Falafel Making

I've lived in Toronto for 25 years and falafels are everywhere here. Love them. Foods like this make it difficult to imagine living in a smaller town, although I've been imagining it a lot lately. (Any big city starts to grate on your nerves a bit after a quarter century.) I started messing around with the deep fryer over the summer and here's what I've learned so far:

http://www.saturdaycooking.com/falafel/

I want to keep experimenting (fava beans?). Anybody have any tips about making their own at home?

Thanks!
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#2 Old 10-17-2015, 02:45 PM
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Made some for the first time last week.... Mmm, spicy, crunchy.... next batch was rolled into much smaller balls, which are great for snacking (I keep 'em in the freezer).... or howzabout for a party? Little dips & toothpicks, I can see it now. LOL =) Best of luck! Enjoy!


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#3 Old 10-17-2015, 04:22 PM
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I like falafel made from soaked and ground garbanzos. I have a food grinder, but a food processor is fine. Soak about 24 hours, then grind and mix with some flour, teaspoon or so of baking powder. I like to heat some oil and add fresh ground cumin seeds, coriander, tumeric and black pepper till just aromatic and add it to the ground beans before adding flour. And some lemon juice. just enough flour to bring it all together.

I've yet to try fava beans! I was so excited to have falafel at a new restaurant and they used cilantro--------yucky. So sick of that nasty stuff
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#4 Old 10-17-2015, 04:24 PM
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And dill pickles, tomato and onion, and vegan mayo on a pita
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#5 Old 10-18-2015, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MadamSarcastra View Post
Made some for the first time last week.... Mmm, spicy, crunchy.... next batch was rolled into much smaller balls, which are great for snacking (I keep 'em in the freezer).... or howzabout for a party? Little dips & toothpicks, I can see it now. LOL =) Best of luck! Enjoy!
Hadn't considered using them as an appetizer with dipping sauce before -- great idea. And I'm going to try freezing the next batch because you have to make at least a couple dozen at a time. Thanks for the ideas!
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#6 Old 10-18-2015, 06:28 AM
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That's interesting. I used a grinder the first time I made them, but I found it really had trouble with the raw onion. But you don't use onion. I don't hate cilantro and I've seen it used in some recipes, but I think the ground coriander is enough. There are so many ways to make these things. Need to keep experimenting.
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#7 Old 10-18-2015, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomata View Post
That's interesting. I used a grinder the first time I made them, but I found it really had trouble with the raw onion. But you don't use onion. I don't hate cilantro and I've seen it used in some recipes, but I think the ground coriander is enough. There are so many ways to make these things. Need to keep experimenting.
Oh, I most certainly use onion.... and garlic (I find elephant garlic is milder & much easier to work with).... both VERY finely minced. Looked around at a bunch of different falafel recipes, found a simple one I liked (link to follow), but also made my own adjustments. I don't have a food processor, so I mashed the garbonzos with a dessert fork (nuking the beans with a tiny bit of the liquid or lemon juice for about 30 seconds will help to soften them more). For the first go-around, I used the exact amount of seasoning (cumin & coriander powder) suggested, minus salt, plus a healthy dose of cayenne.... I reduced the flour quite a bit since I only had dried cilantro & parsley on hand. Of course if you have fresh, all the better, but you'll probably need to add the suggested amount of flour. Make sure you chill that "dough".... two hours is minimum, I left it in the fridge overnight... SOOO much easier to roll into neat little balls when the mixture is cold. I used a deep fryer (at 350*) with a basket, dozen balls at a time, until dark golden brown. (This recipe made two dozen bite-sized.) I also made tzatziki to accompany, with Greek yogurt, peeled/seeded/diced cucumber, & dill weed. Also great with sesame oil, tahini, salsa, or even avocado ranch. MMMMM!!!! I'm super excited for you! LOL =)

http://www.sooogood.org/iraqi_food_recipes/falafel.html


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#8 Old 10-19-2015, 08:34 AM
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Oh, I most certainly use onion.... and garlic (I find elephant garlic is milder & much easier to work with).... both VERY finely minced. Looked around at a bunch of different falafel recipes, found a simple one I liked (link to follow), but also made my own adjustments. I don't have a food processor, so I mashed the garbonzos with a dessert fork (nuking the beans with a tiny bit of the liquid or lemon juice for about 30 seconds will help to soften them more). For the first go-around, I used the exact amount of seasoning (cumin & coriander powder) suggested, minus salt, plus a healthy dose of cayenne.... I reduced the flour quite a bit since I only had dried cilantro & parsley on hand. Of course if you have fresh, all the better, but you'll probably need to add the suggested amount of flour. Make sure you chill that "dough".... two hours is minimum, I left it in the fridge overnight... SOOO much easier to roll into neat little balls when the mixture is cold. I used a deep fryer (at 350*) with a basket, dozen balls at a time, until dark golden brown. (This recipe made two dozen bite-sized.) I also made tzatziki to accompany, with Greek yogurt, peeled/seeded/diced cucumber, & dill weed. Also great with sesame oil, tahini, salsa, or even avocado ranch. MMMMM!!!! I'm super excited for you! LOL =)

http://www.sooogood.org/iraqi_food_recipes/falafel.html
Thanks very much for the details and link -- I'll try a little flour and baking powder next time. I love how he says he adds the hot pepper if his wife isn't watching. I think I'll throw in some cayenne too. Going to keep working on this recipe for a while I think. Not that I mind. Thanks again!
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#9 Old 10-19-2015, 09:31 AM
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Thank you for posting this article, it's coming at a perfect time for me. I've been looking online lately and seen several recipes, but didn't know whether to use cooked chickpeas or just pre-soaked for my first batch. I'm off yogurt these days and like tahini, but I've also seen some recipes for a white sauce that includes mayonnaise. Sounds like a good workout for the Just Mayo in my fridge. I might flatten the balls into slider-sized patties and cook them in a frying pan. Hope that cooks them all the way through.
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#10 Old 10-19-2015, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post
Thank you for posting this article, it's coming at a perfect time for me. I've been looking online lately and seen several recipes, but didn't know whether to use cooked chickpeas or just pre-soaked for my first batch. I'm off yogurt these days and like tahini, but I've also seen some recipes for a white sauce that includes mayonnaise. Sounds like a good workout for the Just Mayo in my fridge. I might flatten the balls into slider-sized patties and cook them in a frying pan. Hope that cooks them all the way through.
I used my best friend (he's a meat eater) as a test subject. I cook for him almost nightly (including a meat dish or two, doesn't bother me a bit, as long as he buys the icky stuff, LOL), since he's going through a really rough time right now. Anyhoo, I tried the virgin batch of falafel as pan-fried patties and they tended to start falling apart. Not sure if the mixture wasn't cold enough or dense enough (I've seen recipes that use an egg as a binder), or if the oil wasn't hot enough, or if I didn't let them cook enough before turning them. My buddy said they tasted great, but he really had no basis for comparison having never HAD falafel. **shrug** LMAO ;-)

I wish you the best of luck!! Let us know how they turn out! =)
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#11 Old 10-19-2015, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post
Thank you for posting this article, it's coming at a perfect time for me. I've been looking online lately and seen several recipes, but didn't know whether to use cooked chickpeas or just pre-soaked for my first batch. I'm off yogurt these days and like tahini, but I've also seen some recipes for a white sauce that includes mayonnaise. Sounds like a good workout for the Just Mayo in my fridge. I might flatten the balls into slider-sized patties and cook them in a frying pan. Hope that cooks them all the way through.
Hi Joan, I made the mistake of deep frying falafels with cooked chickpeas and ended up with no falafels and a really nasty cleanup job, but if you're pan frying them, that shouldn't be a problem. I've seen a few recipes suggesting that canned chickpeas are ok, but I think those have had a fair bit of flour in them -- and it's always been suggested as a second choice after the soak-and-grind method. (That includes the really tasty looking recipe that MadamSarcastra posted yesterday.) The only other thing that comes to mind is an early experiment with a baked falafel recipe I found online. Sounded like a good idea in theory. They were so dry and chalky I ended up chucking the whole batch. Having said that, I think you're right to use the recipes online as a jumping off point for your own experiments. I'm curious to hear how it goes!
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#12 Old 10-19-2015, 12:42 PM
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Really letting my mind go absolutely nuts with various falafel flavor ideas, keeping the recipe pretty much the same, just using different beans & spices to accompany.... Like LENTILS with curry powder, dill, & tarragon.... or BLACK BEANS with cumin, chipotle powder, & cilantro.... or CANNELLINI BEANS with sun-dried tomato, basil, & oregano. Holy crap, I wanna try making ALL of 'em!! Looks like I'll be planning a trip to the store very soon. LMAO! WEEE, how exciting!! =D
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#13 Old 10-20-2015, 02:46 AM
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Hi Joan, I made the mistake of deep frying falafels with cooked chickpeas and ended up with no falafels and a really nasty cleanup job, but if you're pan frying them, that shouldn't be a problem. I've seen a few recipes suggesting that canned chickpeas are ok, but I think those have had a fair bit of flour in them -- and it's always been suggested as a second choice after the soak-and-grind method. (That includes the really tasty looking recipe that MadamSarcastra posted yesterday.) The only other thing that comes to mind is an early experiment with a baked falafel recipe I found online. Sounded like a good idea in theory. They were so dry and chalky I ended up chucking the whole batch. Having said that, I think you're right to use the recipes online as a jumping off point for your own experiments. I'm curious to hear how it goes!
Tomata, I'm going to us the recipe you linked to as my jumping-off point; it was my tie-breaker for cooking/not cooking the chick peas. I soaked them last night, and won't be cooking them any further until they're in the frying pan. Also hoping to benefit from MadamSarcastra's experience and will make these smaller than I first thought to. Maybe the size of tater tots, but a little bit flattened. I'll post about how it went!
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Last edited by Joan Kennedy; 10-20-2015 at 02:54 AM.
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#14 Old 10-20-2015, 03:33 AM
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I also like to use falafel as a kind of pie crust for a savory pie.
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#15 Old 10-21-2015, 02:04 AM
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Must try that pie crust idea, maybe onion tartlets in mini-muffin tins.

This falafel recipe worked great last night, and "wet breadcrumbs" is a great description for the consistency. I made a batch and we had it with tahini sauce and white sauce in pita wraps with lettuce and tomato, and it's going into the rotation. Always looking for another meal that can go into the rotation.

There's some leftover batter, and today I'll be popping it into the waffle maker for lunch.

Last edited by Joan Kennedy; 10-21-2015 at 02:16 AM.
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#16 Old 10-21-2015, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post
Must try that pie crust idea, maybe onion tartlets in mini-muffin tins.

This falafel recipe worked great last night, and "wet breadcrumbs" is a great description for the consistency. I made a batch and we had it with tahini sauce and white sauce in pita wraps with lettuce and tomato, and it's going into the rotation. Always looking for another meal that can go into the rotation.

There's some leftover batter, and today I'll be popping it into the waffle maker for lunch.
Ooooh, nummers!! FALAFEL WAFFLE!! Heeheeheehee.... =)
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#17 Old 10-21-2015, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post
Must try that pie crust idea, maybe onion tartlets in mini-muffin tins.

This falafel recipe worked great last night, and "wet breadcrumbs" is a great description for the consistency. I made a batch and we had it with tahini sauce and white sauce in pita wraps with lettuce and tomato, and it's going into the rotation. Always looking for another meal that can go into the rotation.

There's some leftover batter, and today I'll be popping it into the waffle maker for lunch.
That's great to hear Joan. I'm in love with tahini sauce now that I know how thick it needs to be. The wraps sound delicious. I'm tempted to try to make tabouleh next time I make wraps. The vinegar in the tabouleh sets itself off against the tahini somehow -- it's always a highlight when I buy from a "good" falafel restaurant. Thanks for the feedback!
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#18 Old 10-21-2015, 04:53 PM
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I also like to use falafel as a kind of pie crust for a savory pie.
That sounds very good. How do you make the filling?
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#19 Old 10-27-2015, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
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.......I want to keep experimenting (fava beans?). Anybody have any tips about making their own at home?

Thanks!
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I've yet to try fava beans! I was so excited to have falafel at a new restaurant and they used cilantro--------yucky. So sick of that nasty stuff
I bought some dry fava beans at my health food store. I just boiled them... and they tasted rather foul. I can't really describe what they tasted like; it was a long time ago. But the spices of falafel might have been just what they needed.

ETA: I don't like cilantro either, but the favas didn;t taste like that. I ate the favas anyway rather than throw them out, but won't be buying any more anytime soon.

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#20 Old 12-07-2015, 12:04 PM
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I think today I shall try my hand at making FALAFEL ITALIANO!! I get tired of the same ol' sh*t all the time. I use lots of the same ingredients, but like to incorporate them in different ways. I love falafel, wanna try something new (spice-wise) with it, I have some fresh basil, garlic, & onion I'd like to use up... what the hell, why not!? LOL
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#21 Old 12-07-2015, 02:20 PM
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I've got a lb of chickpeas thats been soaking about 36 hours. I'm pretty excited to make traditional, with cumin!

Italian sounds good. I really like them with Old Bay-- for you unsalted folks, that would be things like celery seed, onion and garlic powder, paprika and some dill. everything but the crab- cakes.
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#22 Old 12-07-2015, 10:56 PM
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I've got a lb of chickpeas thats been soaking about 36 hours. I'm pretty excited to make traditional, with cumin!

Italian sounds good. I really like them with Old Bay-- for you unsalted folks, that would be things like celery seed, onion and garlic powder, paprika and some dill. everything but the crab- cakes.
My cabinet is chock FULL o' herbs & spices.... and I ain't afraid to use 'em! I may be no/low-salt gal, but I know how to season my sh*t. LMAO


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#23 Old 12-10-2015, 09:20 PM
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Ooooh ... Italian style would be good with great northerns instead of chickpeas ...

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#24 Old 12-11-2015, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadamSarcastra View Post
I think today I shall try my hand at making FALAFEL ITALIANO!! I get tired of the same ol' sh*t all the time. I use lots of the same ingredients, but like to incorporate them in different ways. I love falafel, wanna try something new (spice-wise) with it, I have some fresh basil, garlic, & onion I'd like to use up... what the hell, why not!? LOL
I do this a lot too. Most of the fuss with cooking (I find) is getting my quantities and timings right, once you have those down, then you can mix it up with the main ingredients and flavourings.

I also like to do it the other way round where classic dishes are concerned. Eg: with Tuscan white bean stew or Hungarian red bean goulash, turn it into a burger or a pate instead etc.

I think vegetarian cooking is much more fun than the other kind. Then after I stopped using eggs and cheese I realised that they didn't add as much as I thought they did. Not missing them either now.
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#25 Old 12-14-2015, 02:02 AM
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I went to this place once that had a garlic lemon sauce. It was really good.
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#26 Old 12-14-2015, 08:17 AM
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I went to this place once that had a garlic lemon sauce. It was really good.
Like this one maybe?
http://thelemonbowl.com/2014/09/leba...lic-sauce.html
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