Friday, June 18, 2010

Falafel tutorial

Mmmm... falafel. It is a quick meal but hard to figure out how to get it right. Here is my version, based on the Joy of Cooking's recipe.

Here is the list of ingredients that I have listed on my garden window. I did forget to list 2T of AP flour at the end prior to forming the patties.

First, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil.

Place your garbanzos in a large bowl and add boiling hot water to cover by several inches. Soak for an hour. Alternatively, soak the beans overnight in room temperature water. You will  not be cooking them any further (other than frying, of course) as you would for other dishes. The following photo shows the proper consistency of the beans for falafel. They would be crunchy and pretty gross if you were to eat them like this.

A few weeks ago I prepared a very large batch of garbanzo beans. I froze them at the proper soaked stage for falafel (covered in water to avoid freezer burn) so that I could have them at a moments notice. They only take about a minute to thaw under hot running water.

If you have access to fresh spices (which are the best) grind all the spices in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.

Place the onion (I find just putting a chunk of onion in the food processor works fine), garlic, parsley, spices, and plenty of salt in the food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

Add the garbonzo beans.

Now, here comes the tricky part. You need to pulse the beans until you obtain a coarse texture (stopping periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl). But, you do not want to process the beans too fine. If you do, the fried patties will be gummy and tough. 


Try to process the beans into a texture just larger than cornmeal.

Then, stir in two tablespoons of all purpose flour. After that, you can start forming the patties. Grab about 1/2 cup of the mixture, and form it into a ball.

Then press into a patty.

Let patties rest for several minutes, to give the flour some time to glue the bean pieces together.

At this point you will need to start testing the oil. Place a piece of the mixture into the hot oil. If it sizzles, it is ready. If it doesn't do anything, start increasing your temperature slowly. Not too fast though, or it will get too hot and you will have burnt falafel.

The easiest way to transfer the patties into the hot oil is with a flat spatula. Usually I like to add things that I am frying with my hands (flipping it into the pan away from you so the hot oil doesn't splash on you). But, when I do that with falafel I end up with pieces of the patty on the floor.

Such as this.

Fry three patties or so at a time. You don't want want to overcrowd the pan or the temperature of the oil will fall and ruin all the other patties.

You will be able to tell when to flip the patties when the sides of the patties start turning golden brown.

Once the patties are fried, drain them on several layers of paper towels, and then serve. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Yum. But never mind the food. Gee you've got pretty hands. And I'm looking at your kitchen shots. NICE. Must be a fun place to have fun with cooking.