Have you ever been to Israel? If so, you absolutely MUST have eaten falafel, the ultimate Israeli food. It's usually served stuffed into pita bread with various choices of sauce with fresh salad
and pickled vegetable accompaniments – especially potato chips.
The name "falafel" probably comes from the Hebrew word pilpel (pepper) was often made from crushed, soaked fava beans, chickpeas, spices, and bulgur; or, as Yemenite Jews and the Arabs of Jerusalem
did, from chickpeas alone.
The timing in the late 1800s was right for falafel in those early years.
Immigrants were flooding into the country and there was a shortage of meat. As such, falafel made a cheap, protein-rich meal - and people loved it!
Ingredients (Makes about 20 balls):
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Half a large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4-6 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Chopped tomato for garnish
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Diced onion for garnish
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
- Tahina sauce
- 4 cloves garlic
- Pita bread
- Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches.
- Let soak overnight, then drain.
- Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of an electric food processor with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper,
garlic, and cumin.
- Process until blended but not pureed.
- Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and set the blender to pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no
longer sticks to your hands.
- Place into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for several hours.
- Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
- Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few
minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled vegetables.
- Drizzle with tahina to taste, thinned with water.