Falafel is a middle eastern fritter which is made of chickpeas, fresh herbs and spices like cumin. It is fried to a golden perfection, stuffed inside a pocket of pita bread and served with condiments like tahini, lime, hummus and baba ganoush. Gosh! I’m salivating. 😁 I love making falafels. It is quick (as long as you have soaked chickpeas) and very simple. Although it takes time to make Pita from scratch, it is definitely worth it. You can use store bought Pita bread to suite your convenience.
Ingredients: (Serves 6-7 people)
- Red onion- 1; sliced
- Coriander leaves- to garnish
- Lime wedges
For Pita Bread:
- Plain Flour- 1 ½ cup
- Wholewheat flour- 1 cup
- Warm water- ¾ to 1 cup (Depends on humidity and strength of flour used)
- Dry yeast- 2 teaspoons
- Sugar- 1 teaspoon
- Olive oil- 1 to 2 teaspoon
- A pinch of salt
- Dry chickpeas- 1 ½ cups
- Onions- 1 large
- Garlic- 2 cloves; chopped
- Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
- Cumin – 1 teaspoon
- Paprika- ¾ teaspoon
- Chopped parsley- 4 tablespoons
- Chopped coriander- 2 tablespoons
- Plain/ Corn flour- 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper- to taste
- Vegetable oil- for frying
For tahini sauce:
- White sesame seeds- ¾ cup; lightly toasted
- Olive oil or any neutral oil- ¼ cup
- Garlic- 1 clove; minced
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Thick yoghurt- 3-4 tablespoons
Falafel Part 1:
Pour dry chickpeas in a bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Leave overnight to soak. They would have doubled in size. Drain and set aside.
For the Pita bread:
Dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let it sit for 8-10 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved and become frothy on the top. Add the plain flour, wholewheat flour and salt to another bowl. (Note- Make sure the yeast you use is fresh and not too old) Add the yeast mixture to flour and mix until a sticky dough is formed. Flour the work surface generously, tip the dough onto the surface. Add the olive oil in the centre and fold the dough so that the oil is enclosed in the dough. Knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Clean the mixing bowl and grease with a little olive oil. Place the dough into the bowl and cover with cling film. Place near a warm area and allow it to rise for about 1 hour. Gently deflate the risen dough back into the bowl and divide into the number of pitas you want to make based on size. Flour the rolling pin and flatten each disc of pita. Roll the pitas into 5 to 6 inch rounds. Lift and turn the dough frequently to make sure it does not stick to the work surface. You can bake in the oven, but I feel making them on stove top is easier. I made the Pita’s a bit thin as I don’t like it to be really thick but you can go ahead and make thicker ones. Warm a cast iron skillet over medium- high heat until a few beads of water sizzle immediately on contact. Drizzle with a little oil on the pan and with a tissue, wipe off the excess. Place a rolled out pita on the skillet and cook for 30 seconds until small golden spots appear and then flip. Cook the other side for 1 to 2 minutes and then flip again and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes. The pita should puff up at this time. If they don’t, try pressing the surface gently with a clean towel. Remove the puffed pita and cover with clean towel and do the same for the rest of the pitas. To bake it in the oven, You can place the rolled out Pita’s on a baking sheet, spaced far from each other. Bake in the oven at 200° C for 7-8 minutes. The pita breads will surely puff up better in the oven but when in hurry, I make them on the stove.
For Tahini-Yogurt sauce:
Blitz the sesame seeds and oil together to form a rich light brown paste. Now to it add the garlic, lemon juice and yoghurt. Season it with salt and set aside.
Falafel Part 2:
Add the drained chickpeas to a food processor. To it add garlic, onion, chopped parsley, chopped coriander, coriander powder, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper. Process the mixture, constantly scraping down the sides until a coarse paste is formed. Add the flour to the ground mixture and mix well. Chill this mixture for 1 hour. Heat oil in a deep pan. A good way to check if the oil is hot enough is by adding a small amount of the falafel mixture into the oil. If it sizzles, the oil is hot. If it browns immediately, the oil is too hot. Shape the falafel into oval shapes. Flatten it a little bit and fry in the oil at lowest heat for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until deep golden brown on the outside. (The reason for flattening the falafel it is to ensure that it cooks through to the centre without just browning) Once the falafels are fried, drain them well over paper towels.
Cut the pitas in half and open the pockets. Slightly warm the pita. Add one or two falafels, a little sliced onion, coriander leaves and spoon the tahini sauce over the falafels’. Serve immediately. (Note- Sometimes the Pita will puff unevenly and when you cut it in half you will not be able to achieve pockets. In that case, just wrap it like a roll and serve. 🙂 ) A squeeze of lime and it seals the deal! 🍋😍