Falafel and the Living is Easy

Falafel tends to make a more frequent appearance in my kitchen during summer, probably because it pairs so well with most of the summer vegetables in the garden: it can be made well in advance, before the day’s heat sets in. It is also the ultimate budget meal- one packet of split dried fava beans goes a long way. Not chick peas I hear you say? While I’m quite happy with my chick pea/Israeli/Lebanese version of this famous snack, these days I prefer Egyptian falafel, more accurately known as ta’amia.

Dried split fave beans after soaking for 24 hours then draining.

Lunching well for less than one dollar per head is also very appealing. Frugal opulence, thanks to the hours we spend in the orto, tending herbs and vegetables. When it comes to home-made falafel, the most costly ingredient will probably be the deep-frying oil. I usually make a hummus or tahini dressing to pair with them as they do need the wetness of a good sauce or dip. Serve with a salad of shredded Cos lettuce, finely cubed cucumber, spring onions, mint, and salt tossed about with a little oil and lemon juice.

Crunchy falafel made from split fava beans. Buy these beans at a Middle Eastern shop for around $4 a kilo,

This recipe serves 4. Or two with leftovers for later.

  • 250 g dried split fava beans, covered in cold water and soaked overnight or up to 24 hours.
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 spring onions, finely sliced including all the green section
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp besan flour
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • a small handful of sesame seeds
  • a tablespoon of water to help in blending, if needed
  • Oil, for frying (rapeseed, rice bran or sunflower)

Drain the fava beans and wash thoroughly, especially if the soaking water has begun to foam. Add them to a large food processer along with all the other ingredients except the sesame seeds, water and oil. Blend until reasonably smooth. You may need to stop the motor and rearrange the contents as you go. Use the water if you feel the mixture is too dry. Finally add the sesame seeds and pulse through.

Place the mixture in a covered bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours or until ready to deep fry. I often rest the mixture overnight.

Add enough oil to a small wok or pan, enough to at least cover the falafel balls. Test the oil by flicking in a tiny piece of the mixture. If it sizzles, the oil is ready. Scoop out mixture by the tablespoon and shape with your hands into small balls.  Add to the pan of hot oil, making sure that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Adjust temperature of oil if too fast or slow. The falafel should cook evenly and not too quickly. Turn to brown on both sides then drain on paper towel.

falafel bowl

Makes around 22 falafel. Serve with tahini sauce, or hummus and salads.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The secret is out. The best falafel in Melboure can be found at Very Good Falafel, Sydney road, Brunswick, where the hipster version gives the local A1 Bakery Lebanese snack a run for its money. http://www.shukiandlouisa.com/

19 thoughts on “Falafel and the Living is Easy”

  1. Am sitting here in mid-afternoon heat mouthing ‘ta’amia’ ! Not unfamiliar, just remembered from way back . . . Seems I have to travel SSW a bit, leave my usual chickpeas and try make your version of a beloved staple ! No besan flour left in the jar either but . . . well, I better try stretch my budget a wee bit ’cause would love ‘fly’ north over the Long Weekend and splurge on some photographic prints in France ! Thanks for the super recipe and am truly hoping the Adelaide heat passes north of you – all-time ever record this pm of over 46C . . . . hugs . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Its hot enough here today- its 39c at present and will be 43 c tomorrow, a self evacuation day for us, teh first of the season. No decent rain for ages. Besan flour- just wing it with some other stuff. I do like this fave bean version. Take care in the heat Eha. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Felafel is yet another thing still on my culinary to do list. I have such a mental hurdle to jump when it comes to making foodie things new-to-me. I have a jar of dried chick peas and all the other ingredients in the pantry, which will do while I’m on the look out for fava beans. When the weather cools off and my brain works properly, I’ll give it a go.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The chick pea version works the same way… just soak for a day then throw in the rest of the stuff. The heat is rather off putting at present. I haven’t made bread for 3 weeks. Back to the bought stuff in this weather.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Deep frying can be off putting, but once you’re in the swing of it, its all good. at least falaffel don’t spatter like some foods…. The mixture holds well together. You could bake them, but the crunch won’t be the same.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You taught me something with this post, which is a good thing. Long ago, I was doing expat work in Egypt and every evening on the roof of our hotel in Alexandria we would gather for freshly fried falafels, pita bread, a spicy fava bean spread and a Stella. I’ve always chased that falafel taste and texture but never found it. The thought of using fava sound perfect and will be put to test soon. Thanks for enlightening the old guy.

    Liked by 2 people

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