March 15, 2011 |  Category:   cooking recipes

Long ago, before I moved to New York, I would hear stories from Jenna about all the cheap and tasty food that she missed in NY when she got homesick. There were the big fat quesadillas and burritos at Benny’s Burritos, the Hijiki-Tofu Patties from Dojo, the Chinese food from House of Vegetarian, and most of all the Falafel Sandwiches from Mamoun’s in the West Village. Coming from a part of the country that used to lack authenticity in certain culinary genres, I always got jealous. And hungry.

We’ve been making efforts to eat less meat in our diet again lately, so I made falafels last week, using a recipe someone gave me a long time ago when I decided I should just cook the foods I craved if I couldn’t get them where I lived. The chickpeas are not cooked before frying, only soaked in water overnight. They should be ground up in a food processor until they just start coming together, but not too much so that they might become a paste. Easy enough to make, as long as you don’t mind the deep-frying.

Falafel (makes about 15-18 patties)

1 cup dried chickpeas
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
juice of 1/2 lemon

Soak the chickpeas in plenty of cold water overnight. The next day, drain them well, then put them into a food processor. Grind them until they will hold their shape, but not enough that they become a paste. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well ground and fully incorporated. Form into balls or patties about 2 inches across and refrigerate while the oil heats up.

Begin heating about 6 cups of vegetable oil in a large saucepan. When it reaches about 350°F you should start frying the falafel. Carefully drop them in one at a time, and cook them for about 4 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the outside and fully cooked on the inside. Repeat until they are all cooked. Serve immediately. They can be made into pita sandwiches, or served with other middle eastern items (tabbouleh, tzatziki, hummus, etc…) as part of a mixed platter.

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  • Squash Blossom Babies March 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Well Done! I have been wanting to make these for such a long time! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Kris March 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Since you dared us on twitter.

    Falafel? Stick to sweets! I don’t come here for no stinkin’ falafels!


    On a serious note, just the description of New York goodies here made my mouth water. Love NYC. As a San Diegan, I don’t have much to complain about, except…it’s not NYC! 🙂

  • tamera jane March 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    i need to do this! i ate an awesome falafel salad the other day – lettuce, cabbage, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, tahini, and falafel. soooooo goooooood.

  • Anna @ D16 March 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve never made my own falafel before! I’m scared of deep frying. I can’t really pan-fry them or bake them, right?

  • Jenna March 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Anna, it might be possible to pan fry them if you make them flatter, like patties instead of falafel balls.

  • Kerrie March 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    We just finished making eating falafal for dinner, and I said to my husband ” I need a new falafal recipe”. How strange and great to see this an hour later. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to trying it out.

  • Helle (Helen) March 16, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Looks delicious. But how do stop them from falling apart? Whenever I try making falafel, they always totally disintegrate in the oil and I end up with a pan full of slush. Or maybe you never had this problem?

  • Emma March 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Love love love falafel, esp. with tabbouleh, hommus and tahini (hippy mum who used to make this when I was a kid).

    Thanks to the Japanese food in the other post and this one, I’m starving!

  • anja March 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I just tried them and they were absolutely delicious. it pacifies me so much to be able to cook delicious food, like controlling ingredients and all this controlfreaky stuff…. thanks for sharing the recipe.