Falafel

A must-try Middle Eastern dish from Comptoir Libanais . This homemade falafel recipe has hints of ground coriander, cumin, caraway, garlic and sesame seeds.

Comptoir Libanais
From the book Comptoir Libanais
Tony Kitous
By Tony Kitous & Dan Lepard
Buy on Amazon / Hive / Waterstones

Introduction

These falafel can be made and fried in advance and then reheated in the oven before serving. I’ve even frozen them once fried and cooled, then reheated them from frozen. Place them on a baking tray in a cold oven, switch it on to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6, and cook for 25 minutes. It’s essential that all the ingredients are completely dry to avoid the falafel falling apart, and make sure that the chickpeas and beans are well soaked but not fully cooked. Also, the starch in the fava bean does a better job of holding the mixture together, so you may have trouble if you just use chickpeas. Test one in the oil first, and if it breaks apart just stir in a little gram flour to help it hold.

Makes about 20 balls

Ingredients

For the falafel spice mix:
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground caraway
1 tsp salt
For the falafel:
500g chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
200g split fava beans, soaked overnight and drained
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 celery stick
3 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 large bunch of coriander, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 fresh green chilli, chopped (optional)
Grapeseed or sunflower oil, for frying

Essential kit

You will need a food processor.

Instructions

Make the spice mix. Dry the soaked chickpeas and beans on a clean cloth to remove any moisture, then place in the bowl of a food processor with the spring onions, celery, garlic and the spice mix. If your food processor bowl is small you may want to do this in batches. Process it as evenly as you can, so that the mixture looks very finely minced rather than puréed. Pat the herbs dry before chopping and adding to the bowl with the bicarbonate of soda, seeds and chilli, if using. Leave the mixture to sit for 15 minutes then take 40g spoonfuls of the mixture and squeeze these tightly in your hands to form balls for deep-frying, or flatter discs for shallow-frying.

To deep-fry:
Heat oil in a deep-fat fryer to 170°C. Test one ball to check it doesn’t fall apart, then fry the falafel in batches for 2-3 minutes until they turn a dark nut brown on the outside. Cut one open to check it’s cooked through: if it’s not, return to the oil and fry for longer or place on a baking tray in a hot oven for a few minutes to bake.

To shallow-fry:
Pour enough oil into a heavy-based frying pan to cover the base. Pat the falafel into discs about 1 cm thick and fry for 2 minutes each side, adjusting the heat so that they’re crisp and brown.

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