Falafel with tahini sauce

Falafels are so popular and a very common food in the Middle East. Where it originated is still open to debate, but it is believed that it comes from Egpyt originally and is considered to be one of the national dishes of Israel. However all I know is that whenever I go to a Lebanese restaurant I usually order this as part of the mezze because I absolutely love falafels.

Falafels can be made from chickpeas or fava beans, or a combination of the two. Chickpeas are more favoured in the Middle East and fava beans are more favoured in Egypt. Whichever you use, they are so easy to make and so incredibly delicious.

I firmly believe home made falafels are definitely better than store bought but it does need a bit of preparation because the chickpeas need to be soaked the night before, or at least 8 hours, so they can be soaked in the morning in order to be made in the evening. Tinned chickpeas won’t work as they have too much liquid and will end up becoming a big mush and falling apart, having to add more flour to bind which in turn dilutes the flavour. No matter how many times I have tried to make them with tinned chickpeas it has turned out to be mushy and not the right texture inside.

In this recipe I have accompanied them with a simple tahini sauce, because falafels and tahini go together naturally! However it is very common to have falafels in a pitta bread. These also make for a wonderful starter.

Falafel with tahini sauce
Yield: 12 large, 18 small Servings
Difficulty: Medium
Cooking time:

Description

Falafels can be made from chickpeas or fava beans, or a combination of the two. Chickpeas are more favoured in the Middle East and fava beans are more favoured in Egypt. Whichever you use, they are so easy to make and so incredibly delicious.

Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

For the felafels

  • 1 cup of dried chickpeas
  • ½ onion, large
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • bunch of coriander (about 2 tbsp)
  • bunch of parsley (about 2 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • salt to taste
  • Olive & sunflower oil for frying

For the tahini sauce

  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • salt to taste

For the falafels

  • 1 cup of dried chickpeas
  • ½ a large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • bunch of coriander (about 2 tbsp)
  • bunch of parsley (about 2 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • salt to taste
  • Olive & sunflower oil for frying

For the tahini sauce

  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Soak one cup of chickpeas for 12 hours in a bowl. Cover the chickpeas generously with water as they will absorb quite a lot of it.
  2. When ready to use drain and pat dry as much as possible with some kitchen paper. Place in the food processor with half a large onion.
  3. Add 4 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of smoked paprika, a bunch of coriander, a bunch of parsley (2 tbsp of each at least), 3 tbsp of flour and salt to taste.
  4. Pulse the mixture until it is all ground up.
  5. Shape into balls and fry in olive oil (I mix it with sunflower oil which allows frying at a higher temperature). There should be enough oil to cover the patties and they should go golden within a few minutes.
  6. Fry until golden and hard on the outside, place on kitchen paper to soak the excess oil.

To make the tahini sauce

  1. Mix the tahini with a squirt of lemon, some salt and water and mix well until it is all combined and of a creamy consistency.

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