Falafel Collection (4) - pareve

Posted by : Ruth Heiges

Let me tell you right from the top, I’ve never made falafel in my life. My
next-door neighbor has what is considered one of the best falafel places in
Tel Aviv, just around the corner from where we live, so ...

What I can tell you, though, is that you should not use any recipe which
calls for using canned chick peas or dry ones which have been cooked until
they are soft. Either will produce absolutely the wrong texture for the
process and final product. This is why I do not recommend the Molly Katzen
recipe, below, but I am including it for comparison, along with her recipe
for tahini-lemon sauce.

I have a few recipes, starting with the one from Claudia Roden’s "A Book of
Middle Eastern Food." I thought it would be interesting to compare what she
put in that book and her current one, "The Book of Jewish Food," so I have
typed it out.

In the former, she explains that the dish, which is so closely associated
with Israel, originates with the Egyptian Copts, who eat it at Lent.

Falafel - Ta’amia
Claudia Roden: "A Book of Middle Eastern Food"

1 lb dried white broad beans ("ful nabed") 
2 red or Spanish onions, very finely chopped or grated, 
     or 1 bunch spring onions [scallions], finely chopped 
 2 large cloves garlic, crushed 
 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped 
 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin 
 1-2 teaspoons ground coriander 
 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
 oil for deep-frying 

The dried white beans can be found in all Greek stores and in many
delicatessens. Buy them already skinned if possible. 

Soak the beans in cold water for 24 hours. Remove the skins if this has not
been done. Drain, and mince or pound them. Mix this with the onions,
garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, baking powder and salt and cayenne
pepper to taste. 

Pound the ingredients together to a smooth paste. This will take a long
time and much effort, so if a mincer [meat grinder] is available, put the 
mixture through the fine blade twice before pounding it. 

Let the paste rest for 1/2 hour at least. Take walnut-size lumps and make
flat, round shapes 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Let them rest for 15 minutes
longer, then fry them in deep hot oil until they are a dark, rich golden

NOTES: I have recently been told that the baking powder is sometimes
replaced by 1/2 oz. fresh yeast, or 1/4 oz. dried yeast dissolved in a few
tablespoons of lukewarm water ... Israelis have practically adopted
"ta'amia" as a national dish ... prepared in the same way as the Egyptian
ones, but chick peas are substituted for the beans, and I am told that
yeast is often used instead of baking powder.

After reading the above and deciding it's easier to use a packaged mix, she
suggests adding "a little finely chopped parsley, finely chopped spring
onion, crushed garlic and the other seasonings to taste."


Lo, and behold! Times have changed since the above was written in 1968, and
we now have food processors! ;-)

Falafel - Fava Bean Fritters
Claudia Roden: "The Book of Jewish Food"

These falafel are so much better than anything you can buy—very herby,
spicy, and garlicky, crisp outside and very soft inside. And they are far
better made with the large variety of dried fava beans than with chickpeas,
which are generally used in Israel. Buy the beans already skinned, in
Oriental and Indian stores. The secret to keeping the falafel from falling
apart in the frying oil is towel-dry the soaked and drained beans so that
the paste is not watery, and to blend them long in the food processor.

1 lb (500 grams) large skinless dried fava beans
A large bunch of flat-leafed parsley or coriander or a mixture of the two, 
    finely chopped (1 cup)
8 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon or more cayenne or chili pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
6 garlic cloves or to taste, crushed in a press
1 teaspoon baking powder
Vegetable oil for frying

Soak the beans for 24 hours. Drain, rinse, and drain well. Dry them a bit
on a tea towel or paper towels.

Chop the flat-leafed parsley (it should be dry) and scallions in the food
processor, then put them aside. Put the beans in the food processor and
blend to a smooth, soft paste. The longer you process the better. Add salt,
cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, garlic, and baking powder and continue to
process until the paste is very soft and holds well together. Add the
flat-leafed parsley and scallions and blend very briefly—just enough to mix
them in. Allow the paste to rest for 1 hour.

Heat about 1 inch 2-1/2 cm) of oil in a pan to medium hot. Take small,
walnut-sized lumps and make round flat cakes about 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) in
diameter, and deep-fry a few at a time. It is easier if you put the little
cakes on a plat and pus them in at the same time with a flexible spatula
(they are too soft to be picked up). (There is a contraption that you can
buy in Egypt and Israel which you can use to make them. You press some
paste into a small cup and push it out.) The oil should be hot enough to
start with so that it sizzles as the falafel go in; then reduce the heat to
low. Fry until golden brown, turning over once. Lift out with a slotted
spatula and drain on paper towels. Serve with an Israeli salad and hot pita

- Before frying, sprinkle sesame seed on the plat and lay the uncooked
  falafel on them, then sprinkle the tops   with more sesame seeds.
- Use Chickpeas instead of fava beans for the more common Israeli version.


Falafel from Garbanzo and Fava Beans
Jeff Smith: "Frugal Gourmet-Our Immigrant Ancestors"

1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked in water to cover overnight and drained 
1 cup dried shelled fava beans, soaked overnight and drained 
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped yellow onion 
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 
1 cup water 
1/2 cup sesame seeds 
1/2 cup garbanzo flour (also called "ceci" flour, found in Italian markets) 
1/4 cup fine bulgur 
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley 
3/4 tablespoon salt 
2 teaspoons ground cumin 
2 teaspoons ground coriander 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 
Oil for deep frying 

Run the drained garbanzo beans and fava beans through the fine blade on
your meat grinder or in your food processor. Blend in all the remaining
ingredients and let the mixture stand for 1 hour. 

Form into little patties 1/3 inch thick and 1-1/2 inches round. Or, you can
form them into balls the size of walnuts. Deep-fry in oil until toasty
brown and crunchy on the outside, about 4 minutes. 


Falafel from Chick Peas
Molly Katzen: "The Moosewood Cookbook"

4 cups cooked chickpeas 
3 medium cloves crushed garlic 
1/2 cups each finely minced celery and scallions 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne 
1-1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
2 beaten eggs 
3 Tablespoons tahini paste
3 Tablespoons flour or fine bread crumbs 
dash black pepper 
extra flour for coating 

Mash the chickpeas well (make sure you cook them well enough to be
mashable). Combine with other ingredients. Chill well. With floured hands
make the batter into one-inch-diameter balls. Dust each one lightly with

Heat a 2-in. pool of oil in a heavy skillet to 365 F. Deep-fry the felafel
until golden, and serve immediately. 

NOTE: While the falafel batter chills, prepare tahini-lemon sauce
[following] and a salad of diced cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Douse the
salad with plain oil and vinegar. Serve in pocket bread, all piled together. 

Tahini-Lemon Sauce - dairy
1-1/2 cups tahini 
1-1/2 cups yogurt or buttermilk 
1 med. clove crushed garlic 
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon 
1/4 cup finely minced scallions 
1/4 cup finely minced parsley 
salt to taste 
dash or two of cayenne 
dash or two of paprika 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (or more, to taste) 
dash or two of tamari 

Beat well, using a whisk, wooden spoon or even electric mixer. The more you
whip it, the thicker it becomes. Follow your own personal designs.

Serve at room temperature on hot falafel or vegetables. Serve chilled on


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