Updated: Mar 27, 2020
I first had falafel when I was about 9 or 10 years old and I was not a fan. It took many years before I would even try it again and eventually fall in love with it! I never really tried to make it at home as I used to live in north Jersey and had easy access to Mamoun's Falafel (sooo good!).
After moving to LA, I decided to give it a whirl. I knew I had to soak raw chickpeas and green lentils then blend them into a paste. I wound up soaking them for too long and ended up with a paste too smooth which resulted in dense, mushy balls. I complained to my best friends mom, who is a beyond amazing cook, about this problem and she solved my it instantly! She gave me her pre-blended mix of chickpeas and lentils. Therefore, no need to soak, just add the other ingredients and go! This is also great because you can make as much of the ground mixture as you want since it can be stored for later use in an airtight container.
So, here is my rendition of making a no-soak falafel. Some of the ingredients can be left out or substituted if you don’t have them on hand. For example, if you only have cilantro and no parsley, then just use the cilantro or vice versa - it’ll still taste good! If you only want to use garlic and no ginger then that’s fine too or you can use ginger and omit the garlic.
Hope you guys enjoy it! (Pictures are below)
Falafel Ball ingredients:
1 cup raw, whole chickpeas
1/2 cup green lentils
1 tbsp garlic paste or 3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp ginger paste or 1 inch piece ginger
1 jalapeño or Serrano, roughly chopped (keep seeds for spicy, half seeds for medium, no seeds for mild)
Small handful cilantro
Small handful flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water + a few extra splashes to adjust consistency
1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)2-3 cups vegetable oil for deep frying depending on size of wok
For the wrap or salad:
Pita bread of choice (omit if making a salad)
2 Roma tomatoes or 1 large tomato, diced
1 Persian cucumber or the other 1/2 of English cucumber, diced
Small handful dill, chopped finely
Red onions, thinly sliced (optional)Lettuce mix or your choice of greens
Spicy Harissa sauce**
1. Add chickpeas and lentils to food processor and grind down to coarse mixture, it will be smooth but also chunky (hard to describe -please see picture, kinda similar to grinding coffee). You can double or triple this recipe and store for future use so you can cut this step when you make it again.
2. Put one cup of ground chickpea-lentil mix into a mixing bowl. Add salt, baking soda, and sesame seeds (if using) and mix. Set aside.
3. Place garlic, ginger, jalapeño/serrano pepper, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water in a blender and blend until smooth.
4. Add blended mixture to dry mix and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. The consistency should be like a wet paste.
5. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Once temperature is approximately 350°F you can start frying. Use a teaspoon to spoon the mixture slowly into the oil in the shape of a ball, or you can spoon it into your hand and drop it in gently to avoid splattering. Add as many as you can fit without overcrowding, there should be some space so you can flip/mix them around. Let them sit for about 30-40 secs before flipping, once other side starts browning keep stirring about every 10-15 seconds to avoid overcooking. Fry for about 5-7 minutes, the color should be medium-dark brown. Remove from oil and drain on a plate with paper towels. A one cup batch will make approx. 20-25 falafel balls.
6. Add diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and chopped dill in a separate bowl and mix. Set aside.
7. Assemble your falafel now! Lightly toast pita in a pan over medium heat just until it’s warm and softened. Spread spicy harissa sauce and drizzle “tzahini” sauce on the pita, layer lettuce mix, cucumber-tomato salad, onions and falafel balls inside. Add more sauce on top, fold in half and eat up!
Hope you guys like it! Will accept tips/ideas if you have any that will help improve the recipe! Thanks and please tag me if and when you make my recipes on Instagram: @thecurriedcook