How do you make falafael?

OK, you don’t. But how does one?

Background. 16 year old grandchild out for the summer. Recently declared as vegetarian. Part of the summer with us is that granny can teach her a bit of cooking. Grandpa is thinking the science bit. Forget recipes for a moment, think about basics. So, a soup is a stock, a flavour, a thickener. A galette is mash potato, some veggies, that’s it. Falafel is a galette but not with potatoes. Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, and what the hell are they?) is the mush, add tahini, add veggies if you like. So, end up with something vaguely solid that can then be grilled, fried, deep fried, baked, whatever.

And you can do this with pretty much any flour or mix. Chickpea, maybe lentil, certainly potato, bean apparently, no doubt maize, millet, quinua and so on.

Need a stodge, turn it into a paste, add stuff, form into shapes then cook. See, that’s science.

OK. So, now. To make falafel, Do you start with chickpeas? Or is chickpea flour a thing? Beans or bean flour? If the pea/bean, with dried? Or with stuff in water that you drain? That is, blend dried chickpeas into flour? Or drain and mush those in water?

The basic idea – stodge mush with bits added, we’ve ot. It’s how to make the stodge. Oh, and are those potato flakes a good starting point? Or better to mash tatties?

30 comments on “How do you make falafael?

  1. Easy. Get dried chick peas. Soak in water overnight. Drain and dry. Then food process with onion, cumin, salt, parsley and/or coriander (all to taste) so the consistency of breadcrumbs. Shape using a spoon (ice cream scoop ideal) and drop into hot oil.

  2. Chickpea flour is called gram flour. Useful stuff. What about trying a good northern mushy pea fritter?

  3. Dried or tinned chickpeas are the base. Blitzed or mashed.

    Plus a side order of steak with cheese and bacon.

    If my daughter tries putting me through these hoops, so help me…

  4. Part of the summer with us is that granny can teach her a bit of cooking. Grandpa is thinking the science bit.

    Why doesn’t grandpa think the economic science bit? Adam Smith would look at the first sentence there and recommend the cooking lessons are handled by the specialist, whilst you utilise your speciality appropriately. Leave it to the women folk and go down the pub.

  5. First, buy some Falafel Mix. A lot of supermarkets carry it in their ethnic food section. They’ve mixed up the basic ingredients like chickpea flour, parsley, etc., for you. No doubt there will be a recipe on the box where you add a couple of fresh things like garlic or something. Or look up recipes with “Falafel Mix” on Google.

  6. See if she likes this. Buy Sainsbury’s instant mashed potato. Reconstitute with boiling water, lots of butter, and tarragon chopped up fresh from the garden. By golly it’s good.

    If butter isn’t a big thing in Portugal try with cream instead.

    I trust she’s a fish-eating vegetarian?

  7. So you live In Portugal but know sweet fuck all about the food? Why not be adventurous and wander down into town… You know, that place where the foreigners go.

    Are you really such a retarded twat?

  8. ” . . . or garbanzo beans, and what the hell are they”

    Another name for chickpeas.

    I would think you could get boxed falafel mix – we can here – just add water and fry.

  9. The really funny thing was that a few days ago, this person who knows nothing whatsoever about the local food of the country he lives in was doling out advice about what to eat!

    In rational terms he is about equal to Richard Murphy

  10. Part of the summer with us is that granny can teach her a bit of cooking.

    Granny should teach the cooking she knows. If that doesn’t include falafel, no worries.

    @Diogenese – since when did falafel form part of Portuguese cuisine?

  11. Falafels are dreary. Deep frying is awful. Re-spice a ready mix of falafel and use an air fryer. Tad da, they are made, mission accomplished. Throw away.
    Use pasta with sauces (artichoke heart and lemon), stir fries, curries and tagines, and French Med stuff like Ratatouille, pissaladiere etc.
    Most Arab based Med food is subsistence fodder. Ignore.

  12. Diogenes

    You having a bad day or something?
    Not nice.
    Or has someone stolen your identity?

    As to The Parsley – yeah, we know. But it’s more fun to get good ideas from those who know. And ideas from anyone who chimes in.

    Me, I dunno about falafel. But in general yes,I think Fatmatt has the right idea (my taste, yours may vary).

    Did you know that French restaurants look at you funny if you ask in good French, and with an air of being quite serious, if the rat they used in their rat a touille was young, fresh and locally raised?

  13. Don’t indulge your 16 year old grandchild fad declared vegetarian. Tell it to eat cornflakes if it doesn’t like what you cook & serve in your home

    Ask it why? Save cows, pig, sheep answer – explain why they exist; AGW answer – explain it’s a socialist lie

    Anyway: chickpeas not chickpea flour – unless you want no chew mush. Don’t “blender” them.

  14. @Mr Lud 9:01pm
    I’d almost forgotten the concessions have to be made to vegetarians. The disease is almost unknown apart from in Northern Europe, coastal N.America & some religious people in India. Most of the rest of the world would be too happy to get some meat on the plate. Hence falafels
    And spurning piri-piri! It’s virtually criminal.

    @ Diogenese
    Far as I’m aware, there isn’t a word in Portuguese for vegetarian. Although possibly they may use brit. The Portuguese like to eat meat with their meat. With a side order of meat.

  15. True, BiS. But they’re happy to start off with a veggie soup, caldo verde in Portugal.

  16. Falafel isn’t in fact a local food. Thus the asking. Chickpea (grao) is. But more normally eaten as the component of a stew or casserole. With meat. So, not really the point at issue here.

    Examination of supermarket shelves shows lots and lots of grao, none of falafel mixes or pastes. Thus the questions….

  17. Taking it a little further. The Portuguese cuisine contains many bits and bobs that aren’t that far away in concept. Little rissoles that are flavoured with leitao (suckling pig), shrimp, tripe sausage and all sorts of stuff. All based upon potato mash, the flavour or bit, breaded and fried. But falafel? Nope. The only place we see that around is at “Joshua’s” which is a fast food concept found in the shopping mall food courts. Israeli versions of pitas and wraps.

    That’s pretty much the only place I know of commonly found. The cuisine just doesn’t have those typically Mediterranean foods. You know, the stuff which the whole shebang, from Morocco around to Turkey and Greece is a variation upon. Even pita bread isn’t usual it being found in the exotics section of the supermarket.

    Sure the Moors were here. The oranges are proof of that, so’s the name of the place (Al Garve, “the west”) but that bit of the cuisine didn’t stay.

    BTW, I actually asked the question after a close examination of the local supermarket shelves. Maize flour, rice flour, potato flakes, but not chickpea nor garbanzo bean…..millet, yes, couscous, yes, but not chickpea.

  18. 16 year old grandchild out for the summer. Recently declared as vegetarian.

    There’s a lot of this ‘declaring’ going on nowadays which means maintaining to be something one is not.

    M’Lud and BiS are certainly on the right track here so introduce the child to the delights of the espetada diet, starting at breakfast.

  19. We eat a lot of farofa & you can put all sorts of things in farofa. Diced peppers, tomatoes, sultanas garnished with olive oil & lemon’s a favourite. Or there’s taboule,- the french way with couscous or the lebanese with bulgar – which is much the same idea.

  20. One could make falafel, but one chooses not to. You can get much the same effect and taste by soaking some Amazon Prime cardboard delivery sheets in water and forming them into balls before eating them, and for far less effort.

    In Portugal is not the potato king – batatas or something like that?

    I would make potato hash browns by the same basic method (much tastier) with the added advantage that they make a great accompaniment to a full English (which you can polish off if granddaughter refuses to)

  21. Proper Egyptian falafel are made with Ful Nabed (dried fava beans) but you can make them with dried chickpeas (always use the dried ones, not tinned as they contain too much water) which you soak for 6-8 hours then drain thoroughly.

    Here’s a good recipe via the Guardian that uses fava beans, but just substitute chickpeas:

    Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus overnight soaking
    Cooking time: 5-8 minutes

    Serves 4-6
    250g dried split fava beans, covered in cold water and soaked overnight
    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    ½ leek, finely chopped
    5 spring onions, finely chopped
    ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1 tsp gram flour
    1 tbsp chopped coriander
    1 tbsp chopped parsley
    1 tsp ground cumin
    A pinch of cayenne pepper
    Salt and black pepper
    Sesame seeds
    Oil, for frying

    1 Drain the split fava beans well in a sieve or colander. Tip them into a food processor, along with the rest of the ingredients, except for the sesame seeds. Blitz the ingredients to a rough paste and tip it out on to a clean surface.

    2 Divide the mixture into 12-16 pieces, each about the size of a small golf ball. Press them down with your fingers to make small patties.

    3 Sprinkle around 3 tbsp sesame seeds on to a plate and coat each side of the falafels roughly with the seeds. Transfer them to the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

    4 To cook the falafel, fill a small pan with oil to a depth of about 3cm. Heat the oil – it will be ready when a piece of bread dropped in sizzles and turns brown quickly. Turn the heat down and start to cook the falafel in batches. I cooked mine 4 at a time and kept them warm on a baking tray in a low oven. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes, or until it is golden brown then flip them over and fry the other side.

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/20/worlds-best-falafel-recipe-henry-dimbleby-back-to-basics

  22. Try tomato Keftedes moister and nicer than falafel
    400gm fresh ripe tomatoes chopped
    1 red onion finely chopped
    1tbsp chopped mint or coriander
    3 heaped tbsp gram (chickpea) flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp bicarb
    Black pepper
    Mix altogether, mush with hands till a stiff batter emerges ,add more gram flour if too wet.
    Form dessert spoon fils into balls then either shallow fry in oil 3 mins per side or oven bake at 200C on a greased sheet for 30mins
    Serve with yoghurt dressing.

  23. Jonathan said:
    “Here’s a good recipe via the Guardian”

    You see, that’s what happens if you pander to vegetarians; you end up reading the Guardian.

  24. It’s a question of texture. Dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained, have the best texture. Canned, less so. Chickpea flour works, but ends up flatter. I tried all 3 ways recently.

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