Falafel are delicious fried balls made from chickpeas, herbs and spices. They are one of those dishes that I can eat several times a week without getting sick of it. And making homemade falafel is much easier than you might think. They’re also delicious: crispy on the outside and soft and full of flavor on the inside. Try it out!
Before the vegan trend really took off, for years falafel were often the only tasty snack you could find as a vegetarian or vegan in the fast food restaurants of the city centres. Therefore I have a very special relationship with falafel. They often saved me from starvation late at night after a party.
Falafel have their origin in the Arabic cuisine
Falafel originally come from the Arabic kitchen. However, the place and time of the origin of the dish are not known. Some historians assume that it originated in Egypt, but others suspect that it originated in Lebanon or Palestine. Nowadays, falafel belong to all cuisines of the Near East and North Africa.
Every oriental country has its own way of making homemade falafel. And every country claims to make the best falafel. So there is not “THE” original falafel recipe, but typically spices like cumin, garlic and fresh herbs like coriander or parsley are added to the chickpea mixture. You can easily make this mixture in a food processor.
I got to know and love homemade falafel during my studies in Aachen. One of my friends from university is a native Lebanese and he showed me these fantastic tasting chickpea balls. His mum always made him a supply of the frozen falafel mass. I was so enthusiastic about it that his mum finally made some for me too.
Homemade falafel is made from dried chickpeas
“Real” homemade falafel is prepared with dried, soaked chickpeas. The soaking and preparation takes a long time, so I recommend you to make a larger quantity right away and freeze the pre-formed unfried falafel.
If you don’t care about authenticity or you have forgotten to soak the chickpeas, you can also use cooked chickpeas from the can. I won’t tell anyone 😉
Homemade falafel with pointed cabbage
- ATTENTION: Dried chick peas must be soaked overnight. If you forget take double the amount of canned chickpeas.
For the falafel:
- 200 g dried chickpeas or double the amount of canned cooked chickpeas.
- 1 slice toast
- 2 onions
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro alternatively parsley
- 1 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 ½ tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 50 g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 500 ml rapeseed oil for frying
For the pointed cabbage salad and the yoghurt dip:
- 600 g pointed cabbage
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 chilli pepper
- 1 cm ginger
- 1 tbsp agave syrup alternatively maple syrup or other sweetener
- 200 g plain vegan yoghurt unsweetend
- salt and pepper
For the falafel (part 1):
- Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water for 12 hours or overnight.
- Pour the soaking water in the drain and rinse the chickpeas in a sieve under running water. This is important because the soaking water may contain toxins.
- Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Put a third of them aside for the salad. Puree the rest together with the chickpeas, toast and half of the fresh cilantro in a food processor or mixer to a fine paste. Put the other half of the cilantro aside for the salad.
- Crush the coriander seeds, cumin and peppercorns in a mortar. Add half of the spice mixture to the falafel mixture, put the other half aside for the salad.
- Add flour and baking powder to the falafel mixture and season with salt and pepper.
- Put the falafel mixture into small ball shapes with your hands. If you wet your hands beforehand, the mixture will not stick to your fingers. Take care that the falafel don't get too big, otherwise they won't cook properly on the inside. If the mixture does not stick together, you will have to add more flour.
For the pointed cabbage salad and the yoghurt dip:
- Cut the pointed cabbage in quarters and cut out the hard stem. Then cut the cabbage crosswise into fine strips. Finely chop the mint.
- For the salad dressing, mix lemon juice, rapeseed oil, the remaining onion and garlic cubes and the remaining spice mixture. Remove the chilli seeds, peel the ginger and chop both chilli and ginger finely. Add to the salad dressing and season to taste with salt and agave syrup.
- Mix the pointed cabbage, 2/3 of the mint and the salad dressing and let the salad marinate a little.
- For the yoghurt dip, season the yoghurt with the remaining mint, fresh cilantro, salt, chilli and some lemon juice. If you like you can also add some chopped garlic.
For the falafel (part 2):
- Put the rapeseed oil in a pot for frying and heat the oil up to about 200°C. As a test whether the oil is hot, you can put a wooden spoon in it. If bubbles form on it, the oil is at the right temperature.
- Put the falafel carefully into the hot oil with a skimmer and deep-fry it in portions. When they are golden brown on the outside, they are ready. Remove the finished falafel and let them drip off on kitchen paper so that they are not too greasy.
- Heat the thin Arabic flat breads briefly in a pan without fat or in the oven and serve with the warm falafel, the pointed cabbage salad and the yoghurt dip.
If you liked this recipe for Libanese Falafel you may also like one of these other Libanese and Oriental recipes:
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