Baked or Fried Falafel with Yogurt Tahini Sauce
The best falafel I’ve ever had was at L’as du Fallafel in Paris. I haven’t had a decent falafel since, which means it’s time to make some from scratch.
The first time I made falafel, I thought it’d do it the super easy way and use canned chickpeas. I found a falafel recipe on Bon Appetit that uses canned chickpeas. It seemed promising enough, until I made it and ended up with hot fried hummus. Have you ever tried to fry hummus? It doesn’t work. At all. It ended up falling apart as soon as it hit the oil. Alllll bad. Then I tried baking the patties, thinking the mixture would hold up better, but then I ended up with hot baked hummus. Not. Falafel. At. All.
You MUST use dried and soaked chickpeas for this. Listen to my cries! Canned/cooked chickpeas containe too much moisture to get the texture needed for falafel.
After my first falafel fail (#alliteration), I decided that the next batch would be divided into two – half fried and half baked. Choose your own falafel adventure, tho. Baked or fried, it’s still delish! I paired it with a yogurt tahini sauce, toum and the tabbouleh from the other day.
While the falafel is chillin’, make the yogurt tahini sauce.
Back to the falafel.
For baked falafel:
For fried falafel:
Let’s make a sandwich.
Baked Falafel with Yogurt Tahini Sauce
adapted from tori avey
makes ~30 falafel in ~45 minutes (+ overnight soaking and chilling)
for the falafel
1lb (~2 cups) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (do not used canned)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp salt
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom
1-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp baking powder, dissolved in 1 tbsp water
for the yogurt tahini sauce
1 cup plain greek yogurt
3 tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped fine (cilantro, parsley, mint, etc)
1 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and pepper to taste
for the sandwich
toum (Lebanese garlic paste)
for the falafel
Soak chickpeas overnight with enough water to cover of water by about 3″. They’ll double in size.
Note: Do NOT used canned chickpeas/garbanzos for falafel. They’ve absorbed too much moisture from cooking to create the texture necessary for falafel. You’ll end up with hot baked hummus.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them in a food processor (process chickpeas in batches if necessary, depending on the size of your food processor) along with onion, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Pulse until the mixture is a course meal. Scrape down the sides as necessary. The mixture should hold together when formed into a ball. If it’s still loose, add olive oil and pulse again. I added 2 tbsp of olive oil to the mixture and pulsed about 30 seconds before the mixture held together. If your mixture is still too loose, try adding a couple tablespoons of flour or an egg to help bind the mixture.
Cover and chill the mixture for 1-2 hours. Once chilled, stir the baking powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water into the mixture. With slightly damp hands, form about 2 tbps of the falafel into balls about 2″ wide.
Choose Your Own Falafel Adventure Time: baked or fried?
for baked falafel
Preheat oven to 375F.
Press the balls into patties, about 2″ wide and 1/2″ thick. Place patties a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 13 minutes. Carefully turn over the falafel and bake another 13-15 minutes, until browned nicely on both sides.
for fried falafel
Heat about 1 1/2 – 2″ of oil in a deep skillet. Place one falafel ball into the oil to gauge the temperature. If it’s browning too quickly or falling apart, reduce the heat. If it’s not bubbling, let the oil heat a bit more before you fry the additional falafel. Fry on both sides (about 3-5 minutes per side)until golden brown and drain on a paper towel.
for the yogurt tahini sauce
Combine all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Split pita bread in half. Spread a thin layer of toum inside, followed by slices of avocado. Add in falafel and desired veggies. Top with yogurt tahini sauce, serve with tabbouleh and enjoy!
Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes