Falafel recipe – A detailed step by step photo guide to make delicious chickpea falafel at home. Apart from serving these as a snack with tahini sauce or hummus, you can also stuff them in pita bread or wrap them in a flatbread with pickled veggies & tahini sauce. These falafel can be fried or even baked for a healthier option.
What is falafel?
Falafel is a deep fried ball or patty made with ground chickpeas or fav beans, spices & herbs. These are a traditional dish from Middle Eastern cuisine and are popular across the globe as a fast food.
As falafel are naturally gluten free, vegetarian & high protein food they became very popular globally. These are great for people on meat free diet.
How is falafel made?
Traditional falafel is made by soaking dry chickpeas. Then they are processed along with spices, herbs, onions & garlic to a coarse mixture. This is then formed to balls or patties and fried in hot oil or baked.
However falafel can also be made using canned chickpeas which are precooked but they taste entirely different from those made from the dried chickpeas.
In the past I had made these a few times with cooked chickpeas and the results were compromising. The cooked chickpeas have too much moisture in them which tend to make the falafel softer. So a lot of flour has to be added which alters the taste.
Tips to make falafel
- For best results make the falafels from scratch using dry chickpeas. If using canned chickpeas, then use about ¾ to 1 cup flour for 1 can of chickpeas. To make it gluten free use chickpea flour.
- Process the mixture right for a good binding. The processed mixture has to be coarse like the couscous. Very coarse mixture tends to disintegrate the falafel in oil. Too much processing will make the falafel mixture pasty altering the texture of falafel.
- I do not use flour as I have never felt the need. But if you are making the falafel for the first time then you can add about 1 to 2 tbsp all-purpose flour for binding. For a gluten free version use chickpea flour.
- The ground falafel dough, balls or patties can be refrigerated for up to 4 days in an air tight jar. Just bring it to room temperature before frying. I usually process a large batch and refrigerate the dough in smaller containers. Take out a box each time and use up.
- To make herbed falafel, add in more parsley, celery or cilantro while processing.
You can very easily bake these in the mornings for breakfast or lunch box. My kid’s love these plain with some garlic yogurt dip for their breakfast.
I also wrap these in the parathas or rotis along with some fresh veggies & tahini sauce for the lunch box. I have shared the dip and sauce in the recipe card below.
Falafel recipe | How to make falafel | Chickpea falafel recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Ingredients to make falafel
- 2 cups dry chickpeas or kabuli chana (uncooked/ raw)
- oil as needed for frying
- 1 medium onion cubed
- 1½ teaspoon cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 garlic cloves
- ¼ to ½ cup parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (powder)
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper (powder)
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or ground cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour or all-purpose flour (optional)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for falafel
- Wash and soak chickpeas for overnight or at least for 6 hours.
- Discard the water and rinse them well. Drain them to a colander.
- Process together chickpeas, cumin, coriander, pepper, cayenne, salt, onion, garlic, parsley and flour to a coarse mixture.
- The mixture must resemble wheat semolina or couscous.
- If the mixture is not processed well the balls can break in the oil. Refrigerate for an hour if possible.
- Heat oil in a deep pan just enough to half immerse the falafel.
- The trick i found to prevent the falafels from disintegrating is to use oil just enough to half immerse them.
- Optional: Make a very small ball and drop it in the hot oil to check if it is binding well. It should not break or fall apart.
- If it breaks, then add more flour or process the mixture a bit more.
- Make lemon sized balls and press them gently to bind the mixture well.
- If you have added flour then you may slightly flatten them.
- Gently slide them one after the other to the hot oil. Do not disturb them for a minute or two.
- Deep fry them on a medium flame until golden & crisp. Remove the falafel to a steel colander or kitchen towel.
- Serve falafel with favorite dip or as a stuffing in pita bread or wraps.
- To make tahini sauce – I used ¾ cup tahini, ¼ cup + 2 tbsp warm water, 2 large garlic cloves, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, salt as needed, 2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley. Process all the ingredients in a processor until pale, creamy and thick
- To make a quick yogurt dip, use ¾ cup greek yogurt or hung curd, 1 tsp lemon juice, salt, 1 garlic clove, deseeded green chili (optional). Blend them and add parsley.
Preparation for falafel recipe
1. Wash chickpeas thoroughly under running water. Soak them for 8 hours in a large bowl with lot of water. Do not cover the bowl.
2. Rinse them well and drain them completely to a colander. Then transfer to a blender or a processor along with chopped onion, garlic, corainder powder,cumin, pepper powder,salt and parsley.
3. Process it until it reaches a coarse texture. No water is added. Take a small portion of this mixture and try to make a ball. The mixture should bind well otherwise it may fall apart while frying.
You may process it more or less until it binds well. But the texture must still be coarse. Also using 2 tbsp of all purpose flour helps to bind it well. Since i did not use flour, i had to process it to a less coarse mixture.
4. Refrigerate for an hour. Take small portions and make balls. If using flour, you may flatten them a bit otherwise they tend to break while frying.
5. I used up half of the processed mixture and then refrigerated the rest for the next day. To make baked falafel, I add 1.5 tsp baking soda to a tsp of water. Stir and then add it to the mixture. Knead it a bit and then make thick patties. Bake in a oven at 200 C for 12 minutes on each side.
How to make falafel
6. Heat oil in a fry pan on a medium flame. Next make a tiny ball and drop it to check if the oil is hot. It must float and not sink. This means the oil is hot enough. The ball also should not break. If the ball breaks then, you may need to process it a bit more or add more all purpose flour. Do not over heat the oil. As they may brown the balls without frying them inside.
7. Lastly when they are golden fried, drain them on a kitchen towel. They do not absorb oil.
8. Serve falafel with a tahini sauce or your favorite dip.
I have shared the recipes of quick yogurt dip and tahini sauce in the recipe card.