Before there were burgers or chicken nuggets, there was falafel. These browned chickpea nuggets made the right way taste crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside. The word falafel is actually plural for the Arabic word for “filfil”, which means hot pepper. Traditional falafel is spicy hot, but I prefer the tamer version so I can taste the counterbalance between the nutty chickpeas and the fresh parsley. The boxed variety sold in stores do not do this food justice so don’t even waste your time with those. Making your own is a lot easier than you think!
The falafel batter is also very versatile. Usually they are made into small patties that you can tuck into fresh pita or sesame bread with a yogurt tahini sauce and fresh veggies on top. They are also served as appetizers alongside hummus. However, you can get creative. Make the patties larger and you have lovely vegetarian burgers. While you get the best results from deep-frying the falafel, you can make a figure friendly version by browning them in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Most Middle Eastern markets sell the dried chick peas in one and a half pound bags labeled garbanzo, or hummus (Arabic word for chick pea). You can make a huge batch and freeze, but it’s important to not add the baking soda until you are ready to cook them. Felafel has been a food tradition in my family for generations, particularly during lent, when fasting from all meats. In this video my mother and I share insider tips on how to make the perfect felafel. Enjoy!