When in Beirut or any other Middle-Eastern city, making falafels at home seems superfluous; after all, every neighborhood offers at least one great falafel joint. In Dallas, however, one needs to plan a trip to a Middle-Eastern restaurant or make one’s own from scratch; the made-from-scratch version requires some time.
This is a speedy version of the traditional falafel, presented as a bite-size appetizer with some tarator sauce. I used some leftover pesto instead of fiddling with fresh herbs and it worked out just fine.
INGREDIENTS: 50 bite-size falafels
- 350 g. of chickpeas (from one can)
- 1/4 cup of fine bulgur (can substitute another grain), soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained well
- 4 tbsps. of pesto (made with fresh mint, basil, garlic and olive oil)
- 1 large egg (optional)
- Spices: 1 tsp of coriander, 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper, 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of black pepper
- chopped garlic, to taste
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour (or cornstarch)
- 1/2 cup of dry breadcrumbs (more or less as needed)
- 1 cup of sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup of nigella seeds
- oil as needed for frying
For the sauce:
- 1 cup of tahini
- 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed with a dash of salt
- 1/4 tsp of Aleppo pepper or paprika
- Drain the chickpeas. If desired, one can simmer them for thirty minutes in some water and a dash of baking soda, then drain them and rub off the skins. Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor. Add the rest of ingredients and combine into a paste; taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside covered in the fridge till ready to fry.
- Heat oil in a large and deep skillet (to about 1/4 inch); shape the falafels into balls using a teaspoon or a cookie dough scooper (1/2 inch); drop the falafels in the hot oil and let them sizzle and brown on all sides. Remove and dip into the sesame seeds and nigella seeds if desired. If you fry them with the seeds, the seeds will drop in the oil (I did that).
- Make the sauce by stirring all ingredients until smooth; taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice or water if needed to make it smooth and easy to dip into.