I love to eat falafel for lunch or as a light supper, perhaps followed by a bowl of soup. They have been a staple in the Middle Eastern diet for centuries and are either eaten on their own, as part of a mezze or tucked into pitta bread with salad, tomatoes and usually tahini or yoghurt sauce.
Prep time – 10 minutes + 30 minutes in fridge/
Cooking time – 10 minutes
- 280g tinned chickpeas, drained
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 fresh green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 dessertspoon tahini (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 50g plain or gram flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- rapeseed, groundnut or sunflower oil for frying
- Mix together the chickpeas with the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, fresh chilli, tahini and salt and puree with a food processor or hand-held blender.
- Add the flour, the baking powder and the chopped herbs and mix together.
- Roll the mixture into little balls the size of a walnut (about 3cm in diameter) and let them set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan to fry the falafel – you need quite a lot of oil, to cover the pan by ½cm in depth. When the oil is nice and hot, place the balls into the oil, push them gently down with a spoon to form little patties. Fry them gently for about 4 minutes on each side,so that they form a golden crust.You may need to do this in batches. Remove and place on a piece of kitchen paper to eliminate any excess oil.
- Serve the falafel with the yoghurt or the tahini sauce, some lemon wedges and, if you like, a herby salad.