Falafel, a new obsession

Episode 7 of Pantry Raid started with a very important question, one that has been plaguing me since I began to write an episode about chickpeas: why are we not all making falafel all the time?

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I mean, truly, all you need is one cup of dried chickpeas, some aromatics, a food processor and some oil and you can make sensationally good, crispy, crunchy, salty, restaurant-style falafel at home with lightening speed. I promise.

Here’s what you do: soak 1 cup dried chickpeas in filtered water overnight, 8 to 24 hours. Make sure they are covered by about 1 1/2” water and add a pinch- let’s say 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the bowl.

Drain them. No, you don’t have to cook them AT ALL!!! Put half of them in a food processor, add your flavorings, then add the other half. You’ll need half of an onion- I used a red one and quick pickled the other half to use as a garnish. Use more herbs than you think is right- for me, 1/2 a bunch of cilantro stems and all + 3 whole green onions. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt is plenty and you can add whatever other dried spices you like- I used a dash of cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and coriander. You’ll also need about 2T to 1/4 cup binder- all purpose flour, chickpea flour and rice flour all work. Finally, and don’t skip this- add another 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Baking soda will help the falafel cook and brown in a flash!

Just pulse everything together until it kind of looks like…grits? medium or coarse grind cornmeal? It will hold together in balls when it’s ready. I like to cover it and pop it in the fridge while I get the oil ready.

Falafel is easiest to fry in 1/4 cup patties**- if you don’t already own a 1/4 cup springform scoop, get one! They’re great for making fritters and pancakes and cookies and two scoops is a nice hamburger. A 1/4 cup patty means you’ll need about 1/2” of neutral oil (grapeseed or peanut) heated over medium in a skillet. They don’t soak up much oil, but you want the oil to go halfway up the sides of the falafel so they cook evenly. They’ll need maybe two minutes on each side.

I’ve been eating them on salad with cucumber grated into Greek yogurt, the pickled red onions, extra cilantro leaves, a squeeze of lemon and some flaky salt. Please don’t send me hate mail for using cilantro. Just use parsley and mind your own business.

**Not pictured here because I have a weird habit of forming all small fried food into the classic egg-like croquetta shape. CROQUETTAS FOREVER.