About a week ago a friend asked me for suitable recipes to prepare for her husband. He tries to keep up with some traditions in Judaism and therefor does not mix meat and dairy. When I asked her if she ever made Felafel she admitted she had not and lacked a recipe. Coincidence has it, I do. And *insert bragging rights* it’s pretty darn good!
Now this recipe might seem like a lot of work, to me it was intimidating at first too. After making it a couple of times you just start doing things on autopilot. And if you are like me, you’ll start modifying thing too. Adding ingredients, etc… Maybe take some things out. I can’t remember where I got the original recipe from though.
When I make Felafel I always start of with a basic mix/dough and add spices to about half of it so I have a child friendly and an adult friendly version. Now there are many alternative ingredients you can use, but I prefer to use chick peas. You can also use broad beans and I now somebody uses lentils. Not my cup of tea.
I always prepare a huge amount at once and then freeze whatever I don’t need. Just make sure you roll the Felafel into little balls before freezing it. Naturally you can make things as easy or as hard as you like. I am a diehard and prefer to make/cook everything from scratch. If you are short on time
and/or not a freak like me you can buy quite a few things instead of making them.
For the basic dough;
1 kilo of dried Chick peas
5 cloves of garlic (less if you are not a garlicky person like I am)
Big bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro for my North American readers)
Big bunch of fresh (flat) parsley (seriously flat parsley tastes better than the curly one.
2 teaspoons of baking soda
3 teaspoons of powdered paprika.
1 teaspoon of dried cumin (Honestly, go easy on this. I don’t really like it, but it does add a zing.)
Pinch of salt
Extra for the ‘grown up’ dough;
150 grams black, pitted, olives
2 red chilli peppers
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
Now the first tip I am going to give you for this is NEVER EVER use anything but dried chick peas, because if you use canned ones they have been cooked already and melt when you put them in the fryer. (Been there, done that!)
Leave the chick peas to soak in lukewarm to hot water for 24 hours. Refresh the water once in a while to prevent gasses from forming. Once they have soaked, drain them in a colander and leave to let the excess water drain for a while (I usually drain in the morning, make the Felafel in the afternoon).
Grind the chickpeas as fine as possible (the finer, the better).
Now this is the tricky part, because you will need a decent quality food processor, blender or handheld blender for this. I have ruined quite a few while doing this. Oh, and STOP when they start to feel warm or smell…
Once all the chickpeas have been ground I usually throw the garlic, baking soda, spices, olives (yes, TD2 dig olives, so they go in my child friendly dough. Double the amount of olives needed though.) and herbs into a bowl and grind them to, then mix them through the chickpea dough by hand. This gives me the possibility to fish out the whole chickpeas that have somehow managed to escape being ground.
After this I separate what I have in to bowl. One bowl contains the child friendly Felafel dough, the other bowl the adult version.
I then grind the chilli’s and mix them through, together with the additional chilli powder by hand as well.
Once both doughs are done I start rolling little balls with a diameter of aprox. 3 cm which I flatten before putting them on the plate. Always role the none spicy dough first before the spicy stuff.
Leave to rest till you are ready to fry the Felafel.
For the pita rolls (although you can easily use store bought Pita or Naan bread);
(The amounts are for about 8 medium sized rolls, which is sufficient for one Felafel meal in my household.)
350 grams of all purpose flour
210 ml of lukewarm water
5 grams of dried yeast
1 tablespoon of (extra vergine) olive oil
1.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a bowl and leave for about 10 minutes.
Mix the flour, olive oil and salt in a bowl before adding the water/yeast mix. Knead the dough till it’s supple and elastic. Divide the dough into 8 even balls and leave to rest under a damp tea towel for about 45 minutes.
Flatten the balls (about half a centimetre thick should do the trick) and leave to rest for another 10 minutes. In the mean time, preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
Sprinkle some leftover flour over the rolls and bake for about 10 minutes in the oven, till they are golden brown and slightly ‘swollen’. Leave to cool on a rack.
For the garlic sauce;
150 grams of yoghurt (full fat, preferably Greek or Turkish yoghurt because of it’s thickness)
100 grams of mayonnaise (more or less is fine, depending on what you like. I sometimes only use yoghurt)
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
A pinch of sugar
(If you have some coriander or parsley left over you can always use that too)
Put the yoghurt and mayonnaise in a bowl and add the garlic (crushed), salt, pepper and sugar. Stir it together, cover and leave it in the fridge till you serve dinner.
For frying the felafel;
A deep fryer or a high pot (I always use my soup pot as I don”t have a deep fryer.)
Approx a gallon of sunflower oil
Make sure the oil is hot enough. You can easily test this by dropping a few drops of (cold) water into it. If it bubbles and sizzles, it’s hot enough. Turn down the gas, but check once in a while to see if the oil is still hot enough.
Drop the Felafels into the oil (I drop in max 10 at the time) and leave to fry for a couple of minutes. I never time, I always just look at them. If they turn golden brown I take them out of the pot and put them in a bowl dressed with kitchen paper to drain excess fat.
If you have made a spicy and non spicy batch, always fry the non spicy batch first.
Extra condiments to dress your Felafel, just a random list of what I have on the table during the Felafel meal;
(Mixed) lettuce leafs (rucola/rocket always gives a nice nutty taste)
Garlic sauce (homemade)
Sambal (an Indonesian spice paste made from chilli’s)
Red sauce (a mix of ketchup (1 part), sweet chilli sauce (1 part), a drop of Worcester sauce and a little sweet soy sauce) for The Man.