Saturday, March 3, 2012

Green Falafel - Mediterranean Chickpea Fritters

The Oscars came and went and with them my fantasies of being a fly on the wall at Wolfgang Puck's Oscars party catering kitchen. I wouldn't interrupt, for the most part, just let me in to experience the commotion and sneak a slider or two, while the perfectly starched, uniformed waiters, zip by with the trays carried so elegantly high.
My promises of fading into the background would quickly dissipate and I would come up with last minute menu suggestions, Skewer Green Falafel bites with lemon, garlic tahini sauce. My own trials and tribulations with falafel would come in handy.  Many batches later, some baked, some half shallow fried and finished in the oven. Others fried, some with bread, some without, but a major component was off, I was not satisfied. I went on a few months hiatus and then came up for more experimentation and ended up with these Oscar worthy recipes.:)
I knew the answer was not only the right recipe but the consistency. Consistency that I knew could only be achieved with a meat grinder. Thank you all my friends who chimed in and helped in the decision process of old fashion versus what you all wholeheartedly recommended, a Kitchen Aid attachment. It works wonders.
In my search I came up with a couple winning recipes so stay tuned for more in the near future. My findings might be subjective but I do not like the recipes that called for bread, it felt like a filler. I also like my falafel fried not baked just like my doughnuts. I was happy with consistency only after I purchased my meat grinder. I also love how ingredients like cilantro, onion and garlic become one with the chickpeas in the grinding process. Often these reasons, consistency and meshing of the ingredients together, are why recipes for meat or fish kebabs ask to run ingredients through a meat grinder.
Lastly, since I didn't have the falafel scooper, and the melon baller and ice cream scooper didn't work well for me, I rolled the balls gently by hand and placed them on a slotted large spoon and lowered them gently into the oil. Test that oil is hot enough with one falafel first. Don't over crowd the deep fryer or deep pot you are using to fry the falafel. This mix has a lot of moisture in it since I added a large onion for flavor. If you wish for less moisture and an easier to work with mix, than you might wish to add only a small onion. The jalapeno was my idea. It blended well, gave it a zest without overpowering the fritters.


Related post: You might want to served these falafel in these pita pockets

Green Falafel
Adapted from  The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur
Makes approximately 30 small

Ingredients:
1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
1 large onion, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 cup roughly chopped parsley
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
6 garlic cloves
1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons flour
Canola or any mild vegetable oil for frying

1 tablespoon flour

Heat up oil on medium heat in a deep pan.
Rinse and drain chickpeas, add all the ingredients except the oil and last tablespoon of flour in a large bowl and grind through a meat grinder. Mix lightly with a rubber spatula and then add the last tablespoon of flour to the mixture.
Gently roll falafel by hand, place on slotted large spoon and gently lower into oil. Falafel should quickly rise to the surface. You might need to reduce the heat if the falafel fritters get dark too quickly and do not cook inside. Cook for a few minutes and drain on a paper towel.
Serve in a pita with Israeli salad, cabbage slaw, tahini, harissa and pickles or just as cocktail bites with a tahini sauce.

37 comments :

  1. Mmmhhh, I love felafels! Those looks so good.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. TY Rosa. I made another batch. I wanted more of a deep golden hue as you can see here! :)

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  2. i can't wait for your recipe post!!! i love falafels!!

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    1. TY Junia & Yay it is out at last! :)

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  3. I've made this, and it was great:

    http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/spring-pea-falafel-with-marinated-radishes-and-minted-yogurt

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    1. Aww TY Johanna I will check the food and wine link. I always like exploring further.

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  4. Falafel - Ah,I love that stuff!I remember making Falafel and Shawarma in college with friends,and we had them with Tzatziki - delicious!
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe;I am going to note down/bookmark it.:-)

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    1. Aww you made it in college? Somehow I don;t see most college kids now days making falafel.:) Tzatziki is another way to serve it though I must admit I always have it with tahini & harissa, Israeli salad, lemon coleslaw & pickles.

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  5. I love all the work you put into this falafel recipe! It looks just perfect, and well worth all the effort. The meat grinder is quite a brilliant idea!

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    2. TY Katherine. It was a fun process and well worth result if it were not for the oil recycling issue. It sat on my porch for few weeks before I did. I don't know how I survived w/o a meat grinder so far. I need it for so many things.

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  6. There is a place near my home that is very, very popular for its falafels--t is always busy. I didn't even like falafels until I tasted theirs so I understand getting just the right recipe. Yours look great, Shulie. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to try them at home myself. :)

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    1. Love favorite neighborhood spots. I wish I had one nearby. If you are in NYC go to TAIM. They got an amazing falafel!

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  7. Do I dare admit out loud and to the world that I've only made falafel from a mix.

    I can do this!! Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. ahaha Maureen I love confessions! :) Yep. You can! Adjust it to your taste. TY for the entertaining comment!

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  8. i don't like bread used falafels either!! Your recipe is almost like the one I used a while back and tasted great. But since fresh falafels are so easily available I never tried it again!! Now i know i shd!

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    1. Phew a relief to hear Kulsum that it is not only me not liking breading. So true, when you have many eateries making it so perfectly why bother?! I wish I had one nearby. & yay my recipe is similar to yours!! :)

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  9. I have a special place in my heart for falafels. No joke :)

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    1. ahahaha Kiran, love this comment!! :) TY for brightening up my morning!

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  10. They look delicious! I like the red board, too :-) It is fresh.

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    1. TY Lakshmi. SO sweet of you. Yep I got lucky with the board. I am yet to explore the styling possibilities and dofferent moods to lend to it. Just at the beginning of exploring that color and background.

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  11. looks yummy! and I like the idea to put chickpeas into it.
    If you don't mind, I put the link where I learned how to make Traditional Falafel and experienced virtual cooking.
    http://www.cookinggames4girlsonline.com/meal/how-to-make-falafel/

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  12. I adore falafel. It's one of my favorite lunches from our local Middle Eastern Market or when my mom makes them. I can't wait to try your flavorful recipe. That top photo is really great! Love the pop of red color...so much fun, Shulie:)

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  13. love love love falafels, yours look so good that I'm craving them right now! thanks for sharing, Shulie! {kind of been suffering from stomach flu..took a toll on me:) }

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  14. OMG! I cannot wait to make this!

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  15. I love falafels and have it as a meal every now and then! Heh. After reading your post I realized I've never actually made it myself. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe. Can't wait to give it a try. :)

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  16. Chick peas are wonderful. I could munch on them all day long. This recipe is certainly making more of the humble chick pea. I hope, I get to make this, soon.

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  17. I made these tonight but since I don't have a meat grinder I used a food processor. I found that it is difficult to get the right consistency this way, but it still came out great. I actually added sesame seeds to it and that was a nice addition too.

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  18. Tempting... I might go this route this weekend!

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  19. I love the idea of green falafels. Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't the 1 cup of both parsley and cilantro be very overwhelming?
    Also, what would be a good alternative for those since my family is not a big fan of either.

    Thanks!

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    1. I can see how it might seem so but it's the green in the green falafel. It tastes great. You can add maybe a little bit of dill instead but it will change the flavor profile. It is also not traditional. Alternatively you can just omit the green altogether for a more traditional falafel?!

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  20. I LOVE the idea of green falafels! Correct me if I'm wrong, though, but won't 1 cup of parsley AND cilantro be very overwhelming? Also, my family doesn't really like either of those, so what would be a good replacement for the green in the falafels?

    Thanks!

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