I had my first taste of falafel in Paris, France exactly a year ago.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Here is the thing, there is only ONE PLACE in the WORLD to get killer falafel. To get that amazing falafel, you have to go to Paris, France. To a place called Las Du Falafel.
The falafel there is so good that the restaurant has a cult following.
Let me tell you, everything just has gone downhill since that falafel in Paris. Thinking about it makes me weep a little inside. It was that good.
Since last year, I haven't had really good falafel. Until now.*
For the uninitiated, falafel is just absolutely splendid stuff: garbanzo beans that have been ground and molded into balls or pancakes, that are then lightly fried.
What could be better?
You stuff the falafel in some pita bread, with some tomato and lettuce and sour cream and hummus. And then... You eat it. And you die and go to heaven.
Now you don't even have to go to Paris. Bummer, I know.
*Just for the record, my mom and little brother Jacob actually made this, and my other brother Michael took one of the pictures. They're a talented bunch.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4-6 tablespoons flour
- Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
- Chopped tomato for garnish
- Diced onion for garnish
- Diced green bell pepper for garnish
- Tahina sauce
- Pita bread
1. 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. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.
5. 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 turnips. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.
NOTE: Egyptians omit the cilantro and substitute fava beans for the chickpeas.