Soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside with warm peppery spices and fresh herbs. You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to enjoy this savoury falafel!
I rarely eat fried foods, but when it comes to falafels, I prefer them fried instead of baked. On the rare occasions that I fry, I use a heart-healthy oil. These falafels are high in protein and relatively low in fat and cholesterol. As I’ve mentioned before, when served with a salad, tabbouleh or fresh vegetables, you’re eating well.
While many people prefer falafels fried, some prefer them baked. In this recipe, I’ve included both ways to cook them: fried and baked. I use dried chickpeas instead of the pre-cooked kind from a can or jar. I find that the texture and taste of the falafels are better when they are made from dried chickpeas. Cooking with dried chickpeas involves little work; just let the peas soak overnight in a bowl of water.
There are many ways to making falafels. I usually make them with grated carrots, but this time I made them with kale and dill weed. I love this version and hope that you enjoy it as well.
Makes around 40 tablespoon-size falafels.
- 300 grams dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) – do not use canned chickpeas
- 2 cups dark green kale leaves, finely chopped
- 4 to 5 green spring onions or scallions, finely chopped
- 3 to 5 garlic buds, pressed with skins discarded
- 2 teaspoons (tsp) powdered cumin
- 1 tsp powdered coriander
- A pinch powdered cardamom
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
- One handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped fine
- One handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons (tbsp) fresh dill weed, chopped fine
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsps sunflower seed oil
- 3 tbsps all-purpose flour (or chickpea flour)
- Pink salt and ground pepper, to taste
- Sesame seeds for coating the falafels
- Sunflower seed oil or Omega-3 vegetable oil for frying
1. Soak the dried chickpeas for 8 hours or overnight in a bowl with plenty of cold water.
2. Drain and spread the peas on a clean tea towel to dry.
3. Put them in the food processor and process. The beans should be mixed to a paste, but still lumpy looking. Set aside.
4. In a medium-size frying pan, add one tablespoon of oil and heat the oil. Sauté on medium-low the kale, onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamon and ginger for a short time, about 2 minutes – until kale and onions are soft and spices are fragrant.
5. Incorporate the kale and onion mixture with the beans in the food processor and process just enough to evenly mix the ingredients. Don’t overly process. You may need to stop the processor to stir the mixture and scrape the sides and process again.
6. Add the fresh coriander and parsley leaves, dill weed, cayenne, oil, flour, salt, pepper and keep processing. The mixture should look like the texture of couscous and a paste. It should have the consistency of a lumpy/grainy paste. Don’t over-process – you don’t want it turning into hummus!
7. Pour the mixture in a bowl and cover it. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or longer.
8. Form flattish tablespoon-size balls by pressing the mixture with cold wet hands. You can also use an ice-cream (filled half way) or a falafel scoop. The mixture will feel delicate, tender and almost flaky and not easy to handle. That is normal. It’s the right texture to a great falafel. It’s fine if the balls aren’t perfectly round or oval. Roll the balls in the sesame seeds. The seeds help them bind and give them an outer crunch.
Fill a small deep skillet with oil – about a depth of 3-4 cm; or just enough oil to fry the botton half of the falafel balls. They shouldn’t submerge in oil since you will be flipping them and frying them one side at a time. I use a light, good quality oil for frying, such as Omega-3 vegetable or sunflower seed oil.
When the oil is hot and ready (you may need to lower or adjust heat), fry the balls in batches of 5 at a time. Fry them for 2-3 minutes on one side (or a few minutes more for larger balls), then flip them on the other side and fry for another 2-3 minutes (or more).
When golden brown on both sides, remove the balls with a slotted spoon and let them dry on a paper towel. Test taste one falafel when cooled to see if the centre is soft but cooked through.
When golden brown on both sides, remove the balls with a slotted spoon and let them dry on a paper towel. Do the next batch.
Serve warm or cold.
Preheat oven to 350 °F / 180 °C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly space out the falafels.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway.
When done, they should be lightly brown on each side.
Let them cool slightly before eating.
Serve warm or cold.