½ to ⅔teaspoonbaking powder(optional, refer notes)
How to make the recipe
Add chickpeas to a large bowl and rinse them well at least thrice. Soak them in fresh water for at least 12 hours.
After the soak, discard the water and rinse them well with fresh water. Drain them to a colander.
Add chickpeas, cumin, coriander, pepper, cayenne, salt, onion, garlic, parsley and flour to a food processor or a grinder. Process to a coarse mixture without adding water.
The mixture must resemble the texture of wheat semolina or couscous and not like a smooth paste. If the mixture is not processed well the balls can fall apart while frying in the oil.
Test the processed dough by taking a small portion (1½ to 2 tbsps.) to your palm and press it down with your fingers and shape to a ball. The mixture should hold shape. If not process a little more until it passes this test.
Optionally refrigerate for an hour. This step helps the mixture to bind well. This mixture keeps good in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
When you are ready to fry the falafel, add baking powder. I use it only for the air fryer and baked versions and don't if frying.
Deep Frying falafel
On a medium flame, heat oil in a deep pan just enough to partially immerse the falafel. Too much oil in the pan can sometimes disintegrate the falafel. (check the pictures)
Test 1: Drop a small portion of dough to the hot oil, it should come up to the surface steadily without turning brown. This means the oil is ready to fry.
Test 2: Shape 1½ to 2 tbsps. dough to a ball pressing it firmly with your fingers. Gently drop it in the hot oil & do not disturb until it becomes firm for about 2 mins. It should not fall apart, meaning your mixture is just right.
Troubleshooting: If the falafel falls apart, add more flour or process the mixture a bit more.
Make lemon sized balls and press them gently with your fingers to bind the mixture well. If you want you may flatten them slightly. You should be able to make about 25 to 30 falafel.
Regulate the flame to medium, Gently slide them one after the other to the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Do not disturb them for a minute or two until they cook a bit and firm up.
Later turn them to the other side and deep fry them on a medium flame until golden & crisp. Remove the falafel to a steel colander, rack or kitchen towel.
Serve falafel with your Tahini sauce or yogurt dip. You can also stuff in halved pita bread along with pickled veggies, toum or tahini sauce.
To bake in oven, flatten the falafels to shape like patties. Preheat the oven to 400F or 200 C for at least 15 to 20 mins. Place the falafels on a greased tray and spray them with oil generously.
Bake them for 12 mins and turn them to the other side gently. Continue to bake for another 12 mins until crisp and done. Over baking makes them dry.
I prefer to flatten the balls to patties. Place them in the air fryer basket and air fry for 9 mins at 390F or 200 C. Turn them to the other side and fry for another 6 to 7 minutes until crisp.
If you air fry them too long they will become dry. I prefer to spray them with oil after air frying.
To make tahini sauce - I use 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.