Where to buy falafel

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Best Falafel in Canggu, North Kuta

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Today is all about how to make falafel. Hearty and healthy vegan patties made of ground chickpeas, garlic, and fresh herbs. An authentic falafel recipe just as they serve on the streets of the Middle East! You can fry or bake falafel (instructions for both included in today’s post). And, I’ll show you how to make a mean falafel sandwich loaded with tasty goodies!

Be sure to check out the video and step-by-step instructions below.

Growing up in Port Said, Egypt, one of my favorite foods ever was falafel. My father’s friend owned a small falafel shop that was located in the heart of the souq (market.) And our weekends involved a trip to see Mr. Bishay and partake of his fragrant falafels…you could smell them from miles away! Over the years, I learned how to make my own authentic falafel recipe that I’m super excited to share with you!

But for those who are not familiar, let’s begin with a few basics…

What is Falafel?

Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern “fast food.” They are vegan patties (or fritters) made of chickpeas (or fava beans) and tons of fresh herbs–pasley, cilantro, and dill– garlic, and warm Middle Eastern spices including cumin and coriander. I’ll say this now, if you want the most authentic falfafel taste in a homemade falafel, do not skimp on the herbs and spices.

They say falafel originated in Egypt some thousand years ago. The little patties were invented by Egypt’s Coptic Christians as a replacement for meat during long seasons of fasting such as lent.

Falafel continues to be the people’s daily grub in Egypt to this day. I’m not exaggerating when I say, there is a falafel joint or street vendor in almost every neighborhood, serving fully stuffed falafel sandwiches with a generous drizzle of tahini and loads of Mediterranean salad.

You can serve falafel for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The hearty patties, packed with plant-power and protein from chickpeas, are so satisfying and hearty. You won’t feel hungry for a good bit of time. That’s why most Egyptians, and others throughout the Middle East actually start their day with falafel, much like many here in the States start with a bowl of cereal.

How to Make Falafel

Falafel is easy to make, but it does require you to budget some time. You will need to start the night before to prepare the chickpeas. Here is how to make falafel:

1. Falafel are vegan patties where the main ingredient is dried chickpeas. The first step is to soak the chickpeas in plenty of water overnight (allow up to 18 hours).

2. Next, make the falafel mixture. Take the soaked chickpeas and add them to the large bowl a food processor fitted with a blade. Add fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, and dill), fresh garlic, spices etc. Run the food processor until everything is well combined and you achieve a greenish falafel mixture/paste.

Important Tip: Transfer falafel mixture to a bowl, cover and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. This will help you to easily form falafel patties; they will also hold up better when cooked.

3. Once the mixture has had a chance to chill, we add a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a little baking powder. Then take a bit of the falafel mixture at a time to form falafel patties (this recipe makes about 24 patties. You can freeze some for later use.)

4. From here, you can fry or bake the falafel patties. Frying is the traditional way to cook falafel, and in my opinion, it does yield the best results.

To fry, heat the oil on medium-high until it bubbles softly. Carefully drop the falafel patties in the oil, let them fry for about 3-4 minutes or so until medium brown on the outside. Avoid crowding the falafel in the saucepan, fry them in batches if necessary.

Baked Falafel Option

If you’d rather avoid fried falafel, you can also bake falafel patties in a 350 degree F heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, turning them over midway through. Use a lightly oiled sheet pan, and you might like to give the patties a quick brush of extra virgin olive oil before baking.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions for Falafel

This falafel recipe makes about 24 patties. You can prepare the patties ahead of time and freeze them for use as needed!

To freeze, prepare the falafel mixture and form the patties. Place falafel patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze. When they harden, you can transfer the falafel patties into a freezer bag and freeze again for later use. They will keep well in the freezer for a month or so. You can fry or bake them from frozen.

Important Tips for this Falafel Recipe

Just a couple more tips:

  1. Do not use canned chickpeas, falafel patties will not hold up and will disintegrate in the cooking oil. For best results, you need to start with dry chickpeas soaked in water.
  2. Make sure you allow at least 1 hour to chill the falafel mixture. As mentioned earlier, this will help you easily form the falafel patties, and more importantly, it will help the falafels hold their shape. It also does allow all flavors to meld, giving you the most authentic falafel taste.

How to Serve Falafel? What falafel Sauce to use?

On the streets of the Middle East, falafel are typically served hot with a generous amount of tahini sauce. To make a mean falafel sandwich, garb some warm pita pockets, load the falafel in, drizzle with tahini and add some fresh greens like arugula and fresh diced or sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles. The best!

But there are many more ways to enjoy flalafel. I often use them as the centerpiece to a brunch board like this one.

Or, to assemble a simple vegetarian dinner, serve falafel next to small plates like Turkish-inspired fried eggplant, tabouli salad, Balela Salad.

If you’re looking to do some dipping, you’ll definitely want to try one of these: Classic Creamy Hummus or Baba Ganoush!

Watch Video for this Authentic Falafel Recipe

Description

Learn how to make the best falafel! Flavor-packed vegan chickpea patties with fresh herbs and warm Middle Eastern spices. Serve them with favorite small plates, or make loaded falafel sandwiches! Watch the video and the step-by-step tutorial for best results.

Scale 1x2x3x

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas (Do NOT use canned or cooked chickpeas)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, stems removed
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, stems removed
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 7–8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Oil for frying

Fixings for sandwich (optional)

  • Pita pockets
  • Tahini Sauce (click to see the recipe) or Hummus (click to see the recipe)
  • English cucumbers, chopped or diced
  • Tomatoes, chopped or diced
  • Baby Arugula
  • Pickles

Instructions

  1. (One day in advance) Place the dried chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl filled with water to cover the chickpeas by at least 2 inches. Soak overnight for 16-18 hours (more if the chickpeas are still too hard). When ready, drain the chickpeas completely and pat them dry.
  2. Add the chickpeas, herbs, onions, garlic and spices to the large bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Run the food processor 40 seconds at a time until all is well combined forming a the falafel mixture.
  3. Transfer the falafel mixture to a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or (up to one whole night) until ready to cook.
  4. Just before frying, add the baking powder and sesame seeds to the falafel mixture and stir with a spoon.
  5. Scoop tablespoonfuls of the falafel mixture and form into patties (1/2 inch in thickness each). It helps to have wet hands as you form the patties.
  6. Fill a medium saucepan 3 inches up with oil. Heat the oil on medium-high until it bubbles softly. Carefully drop the falafel patties in the oil, let them fry for about 3-4 minutes or so until medium brown. Avoid crowding the falafel in the saucepan, fry them in batches if necessary.
  7. Place the fried falafel patties in a colander or plate lined with paper towels to drain.
  8. Serve falafel hot next to other small plates; or assemble the falafel patties in pita bread with tahini or hummus, arugula, tomato and cucumbers. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Note: You will need to begin soaking the chickpeas overnight, allow up to 18 hours.
  • Falafel Recipe variations: Variations of this recipe may call for flour or eggs. If you prefer, you can add 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp of flour to the falafel mix or 1 egg. I did not use either, and the falafel mixture stayed well together.
  • Pro Tip for Frying: When you fry the falafel patties, you want to achieve a deep golden brown color on the outside. More importantly, the patties need to be fully done on the inside. Your frying oil needs to be at 350 degrees F, for my stove, that was at a medium-high temp. Be sure to test your first batch and adjust the frying time as needed.
  • Baked Falafel Option: If you prefer, you can bake the falafel patties in a 350 degree F heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, turning them over midway through. Use a lightly oiled sheet pan, and you might like to give the patties a quick brush of extra virgin olive oil before baking.
  • Pro-Tip for Make-Ahead: To make ahead and freeze, prepare the falafel mixture and divide into patties (up to step #6). Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze. When they harden, you can transfer the falafel patties into a freezer bag. They will keep well in the freezer for a month or so. You can fry or bake them from frozen.
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Fried or Baked
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: falafel, how to make falafel, authentic falafel recipe

21 Places to Get Great Falafel in Philadelphia

Guides

When your next craving for these iconic, crispy-fried Middle Eastern treats hits, just refer to this list of the best falafel in Philly.

By Alexandra Jones· 11/14/2018, 12:57 p.m.

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Naf Naf Grill | Facebook

That falafel are an essential part of any diner’s routine is something we can all agree on, whether you prefer them wrapped or stuffed or served on a platter with tabbouli, hummus, and veggies. There are pockets (heh) of the city with high concentrations of falafel joints, but just about every part of town has a place where you can score these craveable, crispy-fried bean balls. Here are our favorite places to get them in Philadelphia.

Goldie | Facebook

Mama’s Vegetarian, Center City
This kosher joint’s falafel is a must-try in the city, and their extensive pickle bar is a thing of beauty. Don’t sleep on the eggplant sandwich, either.

Goldie, Center City, Fairmount, and University City
Michael Solomonov’s vegan falafel joint has made such an impression that it still gets lunchtime lines out the door at its Sansom Street flagship, already has two additional Philly outposts, and scored a Best of Philly award this year.

Saad’s Halal Place, Spruce Hill
This spot just west of University City serves some of the best falafel around, so you’ll want to stay on Saad’s good side by being sure to pay in cash (there’s an ATM on site) and staying off your cell phone. The shop is within a block or two of three different mosques and Muslim community centers, so plan for crowds when you’re craving Friday night falafel.

Naf Naf Grill, Center City and Wynnefield Heights
Just about everything this Chicago-based chain serves, from their falafel to their chicken shawarma, is made fresh in store. Get those crispy chickpea balls in house-baked pita or over hummus, rice, couscous, or romaine.

Al Zaytouna, Italian Market
This halal restaurant at 9th and Christian offers Middle Eastern classics like kabobs, stuffed grape leaves, and foul mudam, plus falafel in platters and sandwiches.

Halal Guys | Facebook

Halal Guys, Chinatown, Northeast Philly, King of Prussia
Halal Guys started as a hot dog cart serving Muslim cab drivers in New York, and now they’ve brought their straightforward menu — gyro, chicken, and falafel served as a wrap-style pita sandwich or as a platter with rice and veggies — all over the world. Find them in Chinatown Square, where you can get late-night falafel till 2 a.m.

Bitar’s, Italian Market
After four decades, Bitar’s just changed things up a bit, slimming down their retail offerings and adding a spacious new dining room — but you can still get their unique take on falafel, which is grilled till crisp rather than fried. We like it in the Owner’s Favorite, a mix of falafel, gyro meat, veggies, and harissa-spiked mayo.

Old Thyme Cafe, Old City
Come here for freshly squeezed juices, perfectly crispy falafel and some Turkish coffee if you’re in need of an afternoon jolt.

Manakeesh, Spruce Hill
One of three excellent spots on this list on a two-block stretch of Walnut Street just west of the Penn campus, Manakeesh’s menu goes beyond Lebanese basics with their namesake flatbreads, fruit cocktails, and an extensive selection of Middle Eastern pastries — but their falafel is also fantastic.

Paprica Grill, Washington Square West
This new Turkish place just replaced kosher spot Hamifgash (which would also be on this list were it still open) on Jeweler’s Row. In addition to chickpea-based falafel, the menu includes khachapuri-esque pide flatbread topped with cheese and soudjouk (dry sausage) and doner kebab sandwiches.

Ka’moon | Facebook

Ka’moon, Old City
This Egyptian spot from the folks behind Easton’s Taza Truck is one of the highlights of the new Bourse Marketplace. Get their fava-based falafel in pita or over seasoned rice with toasted vermicelli noodles.

Makkah Market, Spruce Hill
Hit up Makkah during the day for bulk olive oil, fresh-baked pita bread, or super-cheap spices. And pull up to their window any time of night (or day) for prepared foods. That’s right: 24-hour falafel in Philadelphia is real.

Alyan’s, Queen Village
This no-frills Mediterranean spot on South Street spot is the perfect place to grab a falafel platter before a show at the TLA.

Liberty Choice, Fishtown
At first, this shop right by the Berks stop on the Market-Frankford line seems like any other convenience store with a slate of breakfast sandwiches, hoagies, fries. Look to the vegetarian section of their menu for surprisingly good falafel sandwiches under $6.

Octopus Falafel, Center City
Don’t ask about the menu at this one-of-a-kind food cart with a cult following (there isn’t one, and you’ll get an earful about it from culinary auteur-slash-owner Gus). Ten bucks gets you whatever creation he’s serving that day —typically a creative take on a falafel or chicken platter, often dressed up with fresh fruit, veggies, or microgreens — and not knowing is part of the fun.

Bishos Cafe, Northeast Philly
This solid Palestinian cafe serves falafel several ways, in platters and sandwiches and rice bowls. Take note that during Ramadan, the menu is tweaked, with morning items served at night so their Muslim customers can break their fast.

Kamal’s | Facebook

Kamal’s, Market East
Reading Terminal Market’s resident Middle Eastern vendor offers a sweet option for a veggie-ful meal (something that’s not easy to find among the cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches there). Choose three, four, or five items from their veggie list, and be sure to make one of them falafel.

Sahara Grill, Midtown Village
This unassuming sit-down spot just east of Broad on Walnut Street is a well-kept secret amongst Center City diners. Our favorite is the dirt-cheap but delicious falafel sandwich with a fattoush salad on the side.

Apricot Stone, Northern Liberties
Syrian-born Armenian chef Fimy Ishkhanian introduced the Main Line to Middle Eastern fare from the ’80s to the ’00s before she opened this spot on North American Street in 2016. Amid regional classics with an Armenian bent, she sells crisp falafel in pita, with rice pilaf and salad, or on their own with tahini.

Aya’s Cafe, Center City
We recommend the Aya’s Taster at this vegan-friendly Arch Street spot — a platter with a little bit of everything, from falafel to kalamata olive hummus to bruschetta to tzatziki.

Magic Carpet, University City
Magic Carpet runs not one but two vegetarian food carts on the Penn campus, one at 36th and Spruce and the other at 34th and Walnut, where you can dress up your baked tofu, seitan, or tempeh with falafel on the side.

How to Make Perfectly Crispy Falafel

How to make delicious and crispy falafel at home rivaling your favorite restaurants. After lots of kitchen testing, this falafel recipe has become our favorite way to make falafel. The recipe is straightforward, 100% plant-based (vegan), and they taste incredible. Jump to the Easy Falafel Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how to do it.

Watch Us Make Falafel

Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern food made with legumes (most often with chickpeas or fava beans) that’s mixed with herbs, spices, and then deep fried until crisp golden brown on the outside and tender in the middle.

We first tried great falafel in Paris (the Marais district). We noticed an outrageous line of people waiting to order a falafel sandwich. Wanting in on the action, we followed suit and ordered falafel. Not realizing we were standing next to what’s been called one of the world’s best falafel sandwiches, we took our first bite and wow! The falafel was freshly made and so tender on the inside. The outside was perfectly golden brown and crisp. They were nestled in a pita with vegetables, pickles, and a silky tahini sauce drizzle on top. We were hooked! In fact, we loved it so much that we went back to order falafel everyday during our stay 😊

For those interested, we ordered from L’As du Fallafel (with the green store front), but there are quite a few popular places selling falafel in the district so I recommend you explore and try them all! That’s what we plan to do the next time we visit.

Falafel Ingredients

During our testing, we tried a variety of recipes for falafel and this recipe is what stood out to us. When made using our “as close to authentic as we could get it” falafel recipe, the falafel is vegan and gluten-free. No flour is used in our recipe. The centers are light, tender, and extra flavorful thanks to green herbs and garlic, while the exterior is perfectly crisp and golden brown.

Dried chickpeas — I’ve addressed this further below, but canned or cooked chickpeas are not an option when making falafel. I know there are other recipes that say you can use them, but soaked dried chickpeas will make the best falafel. The taste is so much better and the texture is completely different. For the best authentic falafel, dried chickpeas are your friend (note: this does not mean the recipe is difficult, I promise 😊).

Onion and garlic — We like falafel to pack a punch in the flavor department so we use a generous amount of onion and garlic. We’ve used scallions, yellow onion, and shallots to make falafel. I personally prefer scallions or sweet onion (like Walla Walla or Vidalia), but even I have to admit they aren’t a game-changer compared to other onion varieties. Use what you have, just keep in mind if you have an especially strong flavored onion, you might want to cut back slightly or deflame them (I share how in the notes section in the recipe).

Fresh herbs — You can see from our photos that we use a lot of fresh herbs in our recipe. If you’ve followed some of our other recipes, you already know we love using fresh herbs. Falafel is no different, we use 2 packed cups of herbs! We adore the combination of parsley, cilantro, and mint for this. You can, however, use just one or two herbs if that’s all you have access to. I love the bright green color inside each falafel, which is all thanks to the herbs.

Dried spices — Just like the fresh herbs, we don’t hold back when adding dried spices. We add ground cumin (a little smoky), ground coriander (a little nutty with a hint of citrus), ground cardamom (a hint of citrus and herbal), as well as cayenne pepper (hot and spicy). In addition to the spices, we add a generous amount of salt and some ground black pepper.

Baking powder — We include baking powder as an optional ingredient because you can absolutely make amazing falafel without it. That said, if you have it in the kitchen, adding a little baking powder makes the center of the falafel just a little bit more tender, airy, and light.

How to Make our Favorite Homemade Falafel Recipe

Before we started experimenting with homemade falafel, I thought it would be on the difficult side of things, but let me tell you, falafel is so easy to make! The full recipe, which has been inspired by some seriously amazing chefs including, Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimiwith, Sharon Salloum, and J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats, but here are the basic steps we follow for making amazing falafel at home:

Step 1, Soak dried chickpeas: This step is simple. Add dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to a large bowl and cover by quite a few inches of water. Set the bowl aside and let the beans rehydrate until they triple in size. This takes a while, so I do this the night before I plan to make falafel. I’ve also done this two days in advance, drained the beans, and then kept them covered in the fridge.

Step 2, Process all falafel ingredients in a food processor: Roughly chop the onion/scallions, and then add them to the food processor with the chickpeas, garlic, herbs, spices, salt, and pepper. Then pulse until the mixture is chopped small, but before it is smooth — see our video and photos for reference.

Step 3: Cover the falafel mix and refrigerate for 15 minutes: Other recipes call for chilling the falafel mix for 2 hours, since we aren’t using canned chickpeas or flour in our recipe, we only need 15 minutes of chill time (although, you can leave it in the fridge for much longer if that works better with your schedule).

Step 4, Form balls from the falafel mix: This recipe makes about 18 falafel, so since it’s just the two of us, I usually form half of the mix into balls and then refrigerate the rest for the next day. The mixture might seem like it wants to fall apart, but trust us, it won’t. Just scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons or so of the mix and press it into a ball or oblong shape with the palms of your hands (it’s a little messy, but easy).

Step 5, Cook the falafel: For the most authentic and crispy falafel, we fry the falafel in about 3/4 inch of oil. I’m not usually one to fry foods in my kitchen, but when it comes to falafel, it’s 100% worth it! It’s also not as difficult or messy as many make it seem. I have provided tips for baking and pan-frying falafel below, but remember, for the best falafel, frying is the answer.

When the falafel are cooked, we immediately sprinkle a little extra salt over them and serve. You want to eat falafel right away since it’s at it’s best right out of the oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Canned Chickpeas or Previously Cooked Chickpeas to Make Falafel?

When we started our recipe testing, we both really wanted previously cooked or canned chickpeas to work in this recipe. I mean, who doesn’t love the ease of opening a can of beans and making a meal. Unfortunately, after a few tests, we determined that canned chickpeas do not work as a direct substitute for soaked dried beans.

Soaked dried beans are much firmer and have starch in them so they add texture to the falafel, don’t turn mushy, and hold together without extra binders (like flour or egg). When I substituted canned chickpeas in this recipe, the falafel literally vanished in the oil, it just disintegrated. To get around this, I needed to add flour, which did help the falafel stay together in the oil, and I achieved a nice brown exterior, but the middle was mushy and all one texture. Not anything like the falafel in our photos with bits of chickpea, onion, and herbs.

Now I know that we don’t always have the time to soak beans overnight and maybe canned chickpeas is all you have in the kitchen so here’s what we recommend. If you need to make falafel with canned chickpeas, you will need to make the following adjustments to our recipe and remember the texture will be very different.

For falafel made with canned chickpeas, substitute three cups of canned chickpeas (patted dry) for the soaked chickpeas and add 4 to 5 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the mix.

Can Falafel be Baked Instead of Fried?

Falafel is best when fried, but you can successfully bake the falafel mix for slightly healthier, baked falafel. To bake falafel, heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and add a couple tablespoons of high heat cooking oil to a baking sheet. Form the falafel mix into 1/2-inch patties (instead of balls) so that they sit flat on the baking sheet. Bake the falafel patties, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, 20 to 25 minutes. (Scroll down to see a photo showing the different between fried and baked falafel.)

Can Falafel be Pan Fried Instead of Fried?

You already know that we prefer to fry our falafel, but you can pan fry falafel instead (which uses much less oil). To pan fry falafel, heat a couple tablespoons of high heat cooking oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Form the falafel mix into 1/2-inch patties (instead of balls) so that they sit flat. Pan fry the falafel patties, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. (Scroll down to see a photo showing the different between fried and pan fried falafel.)

What’s the Difference Between Fried, Pan Fried, and Baked Falafel?

We wanted to make sure that we covered all the bases for this recipe, so we tried all three cooking methods and took a photo for you. In the photo below, fried falafel are on the left, pan-fried falafel is in the middle, and baked falafel is on the right.

The most tender, fluffy result was fried (left). The interior texture of the pan fried falafel was close to fried, but the outside was not nearly as crunchy. Compared to the other options, the baked falafel was much drier and more dense in the middle and the exterior was the least crunchy.

One note, while we have not tried it, we are both interested in what would happen if we used an air fryer to cook falafel. We don’t own one yet, but if we invest in one, we will be sure to update this recipe with our results.

From left to right: fried falafel, pan-fried falafel, and baked falafel.

Can I Make the Falafel Mixture Ahead?

Yes, this falafel mixture can be made in advance. The falafel mix should keep covered in the fridge for a few days. In fact, we rely on this a lot since it is just the two of us. I’ll make a batch and only cook half, then cook the second batch the next day. I’ve also kept the soaked chickpeas in the fridge for a day or two before making the falafel mix.

How Long do Falafel Keep Once They’re Cooked?

Falafel is best when eaten straight away. That’s when the exterior is the most crisp and the interior the most fluffy. There are lots of recipes that suggest making falafel in advance and then reheating them, but since we have fallen so hard for that super crispy outside, we personally don’t do it. Technically, cooked falafel will last, covered in the fridge for a day or two. You can even try freezing it. The falafel will still taste great, you will just lose quite a bit of the texture.

What to Serve With and How to Serve Falafel

There are so many ways to serve falafel. Here are some of our favorite ways:

As an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce. We cannot recommend our dreamy (vegan) tahini sauce enough for dipping your falafel into. This creamy tzatziki (a cucumber yogurt dip) would also be amazing.

Add falafel to or alongside salads. I love lots of crunch in my salads and especially love shredded purple cabbage, cucumbers, and tomato as a base for falafel. This chopped tomato, cucumber, and onion salad is also a favorite (I just spoon it on top of everything).

Make a falafel sandwich. You can add just about anything, but our favorite falafel sandwiches start with pita bread, a spoonful of hummus, lettuce or cabbage, tomato, cucumber, and a drizzle of tahini or garlic tahini sauce.

Make a falafel platter. Grab the largest plate you own and pile on falafel, creamy hummus (here’s our homemade hummus and a roasted red pepper hummus), baba ganoush (a roasted eggplant dip), lots of veggies like carrots, cabbage, and cucumbers, olives, as well as some sauces like tahini or tzatziki.

  • PREP 8hr 20mins
  • COOK 10mins
  • TOTAL 8hr 30mins

How to make delicious and crispy falafel at home rivaling your favorite restaurants. After lots of kitchen tests, this falafel recipe has become our favorite way to make falafel. The recipe is straightforward, 100% plant-based (vegan), and the falafel tastes incredible.

In addition to the active prep and cook time, you will need to soak dried chickpeas overnight. This can be done a couple days in advance, simply drain and pat dry the soaked beans, and then store, covered in the fridge until ready to make the falafel mix.

Note on using canned chickpeas or cooked chickpeas: Canned chickpeas are cooked chickpeas. After testing, we have determined that canned or cooked chickpeas do not work as a direct substitute for soaked dried beans in this recipe. The falafel will fall apart in the oil. Recipe adaptations for using canned chickpeas or cooked chickpeas are shared in the article above.

Makes approximately 18 falafel, 4 to 6 servings

You Will Need

8 ounces (225 grams) dried chickpeas (1 heaping cup)

1 bunch scallions (85 grams) scallions, trimmed (5 to 6), see notes

2 to 4 medium garlic cloves, depending on how much you like garlic

2 cups packed fresh cilantro, parsley, or mint leaves, we prefer to use a mixture of all three

1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for serving

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon baking powder, optional, see notes

2 to 3 cups (480 to 720ml) vegetable oil, for frying

Directions

    Rinse the chickpeas then place into a large bowl and cover with cool water by about 4 inches. Cover and soak overnight or until the beans triple in size. Drain the soaked chickpeas, rinse, and then pat dry or add to a salad spinner to spin dry.

    Add chickpeas, scallions, garlic, herbs, salt, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, black pepper, and the baking powder to a bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture until very finely minced, but not pureed, scraping the bowl down as necessary. You should be able to press a handful together and have it hold it’s shape (it will be loose and a little crumbly). See our video and photos above for reference.

    Transfer the falafel mix to a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to help the balls hold together when cooking. If making ahead, you can refrigerate the mixture for a few days.

    Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to scoop out 1 1/2 tablespoons of the falafel mix then gently shape it into a ball and place onto a clean plate. Repeat with as many falafel as you plan to cook. The mix will not act like dough, but will hold its shape. Watch the video to see how we do this.

    Add at least 3/4 inch of oil to a deep saucepan, cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. The smaller the pan, the less oil you will need. The wider the pan, the more falafel you can cook at one time).

    Turn the heat to medium-high and heat the oil to between 350 degrees and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Fry the falafel in batches, placing them gently into the oil and without crowding in the pan, until they are browned on the bottom sides. Using two forks, carefully flip the falafel to brown the other side, 3 1/2 minutes to 4 minutes total.

    Transfer the cooked falafel to a plate lined with paper towel, sprinkle with a little salt, and then repeat with the remaining falafel balls. Serve immediately.

Adam and Joanne’s Tips

  • 8 ounces of dried chickpeas equals about 3 cups (500 grams) soaked chickpeas
  • Scallions: Substitute half a medium sweet white onion (like Walla Walla sweets and Vidalia) or 1 large shallot for the scallions. If your onion is especially strong, rinsing it with cool water for 10 seconds or so will tone down the raw onion flavor.
  • Baking powder is optional and helps to make the most tender, fluffy falafel. You can leave it out and still make incredibly delicious falafel.
  • Baked or pan-fried falafel instructions are shared in the article above.
  • Using Canned Chickpeas: After testing, we have determined that canned chickpeas do not work as a direct substitute for soaked dried beans in this recipe. The falafel will fall apart in the oil. Recipe adaptations for using canned chickpeas are shared in the article above.
  • Falafel recipe inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimiwith, Sharon Salloum, and J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats.
  • Nutritional Facts: The nutrition data for this recipe was very difficult to accuratley calculate. We use the USDA database to calculate nutrition facts, but without proper equipment and a lab, we are unable to calculate how much oil will be absorbed by each falafel when fried. The data provided below is for the falafel mix only (before cooking).

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 3 falafel / Calories 151 / Total Fat 2.4g / Saturated Fat 0.3g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 408.3mg / Total Carbohydrate 25.8g / Dietary Fiber 7.4g / Total Sugars 4.5g / Protein 8.3g AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

Best Falafel in Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

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Get Set To Scope Out 6 Of Sydney’s Absolute Best Falafel Joints

The falafel has what all great culinary debates need: an established set of ingredients and multiple places claiming to do it best. Much like coffee or Margherita pizza, falafel is deceptively complicated. Chickpeas, beans, and spices should be hard to get wrong and yet so many do.

So, in order to save you from all things over-promising, under-delivering in the crowded world of felafel, we went on a full-blown journey to uncover Sydney’s absolute best falafel, and to discover a little more about what makes us absolute falafools for those crunchy Middle Eastern bites.

Behold, here’s where to score Sydney’s best falafel.

Jasmin1

Leichhardt, Bankstown, auburn

We trialled many of the “top” falafel joints in the city but time after time we ran headlong into bad falafel—too oily, too dry, not enough flavour. After many false starts, we were beginning to question if there really was good falafel in this city. Then we came across Jasmin1.

Having three venues across the city was a good indication they were doing something right—and that something was falafel. Here we discovered the texture that so many before had missed. Crunchy, with a golden colour, and crumbly in the middle while holding its shape. Served with generous sides of pickled veg, tahini, garlic sauce and flatbread for just $10, Jasmin 1 was our first winner (after all, it does have the number 1 in its name).

Cairo Takeaway

Enmore

But what makes the perfect falafel? We think it needs to be crisp on the outside, with a distinct crust that gives way to a fluffy blend of chickpeas, herbs and spices. It should have flavour strong enough to stand up on its own without needing to be drowned in sauce. Most corner shop falafel wraps fail this test once you prise them from their chilli sauce camouflage. In fact, without pointing fingers, many of the city’s favourite falafel joints would not pass this test either.

Of course, the dish varies country to country in traditional ingredients, preparation, and serving. In Lebanon, they roll chickpeas into a ball with a spoon but in Egypt, they squish broad beans into patties by hand. Cultural subjectivity has never been so important. This was one thing we truly came to appreciate when we dined at Cairo Takeaway.

Cairo is in the heart of hipster territory on the Enmore road. Despite being a vegan staple, a diet not exactly known to be tantalising, this place caters to the discerning foodie who knows their way around a falafel. As the name suggests, this place prepares their falafel Egyptian style. The moist, crumbly green inner of their crunchy patties are incredibly moreish and certainly deserving of a spot on this list.

Emma’s Snackbar

Outside of the oasis of Cairo, we were back in, uh, whatever the opposite of flavour town is. After a number of disastrous encounters, we were beginning to wonder whether our ideas about falafel were wrong. Maybe it was a mistake to eat just falafel on its own. Perhaps they ought to only be considered a vessel for other flavours—like tortilla chips—or everyone in One Direction who isn’t Harry Styles. Then, Emma’s Snackbar set us straight.

Emma’s is rooted in street food while still being able to pull off an edgy date night kind of vibe—if you don’t mind shouting to be heard. The falafel here is some of the tastiest we tried on our trip, packed with heat and secret quantities of herbs and spices. We spoke to Anthony, Emma’s son, who grew up above the restaurant back when it was a corner shop. He describes the falafels here as “inspired by the fragrant Lebanese concoctions of his youth”.

This is home-cooked food designed for the family to gather around and will transport you to a Middle Eastern childhood you may or may not ever have experienced.

Eat Falafel

Rosebery

What were we doing prowling about the city looking for falafel anyway? It was obvious to everyone we quizzed on Sydney’s best falafel that we needed to venture beyond the walls of the inner city. And so we did. But even here, the falafel could be hit and miss. We only first struck gold at Eat Falafel.

This place is a small hole in the wall that has kept the locals happy in Rosebery for the past ten years. They actually started as a wholesale falafel business but demand meant they began selling their wares from the shop front too.

If your down this way, treat yourself to a box of delish, crunchy falafels served with generous sides of salad, hummus and tahini for just $6. Now that is good falafel.

Jasmin

Lakemba

As we pressed on, we heard rumours of falafel so good it had earned accolades and won awards. We couldn’t be sure that the hype was true until we reached our destination, asked a few questions, and chomped on one (or six) for ourselves.

Abdul has been running Jasmin in Lakemba (not to be confused with aforementioned Jasmin1 and its sister venues dotted around Sydney) for more than 20 years. His father is credited as opening the first Lebanese restaurant in Surry Hills and his falafel recipe is the same one his family were selling there 50 years ago. So yeah, these guys are legit.

It’s a heavily-seasoned delight with that all-important crunch on the outside and a light, fluffy interior. And while it is stacked with flavour, it gets even better when you heap it with the mound of seasoned hummus and baba ghanoush it is served with. With huge portions and even bigger zest, we leave feeling as though we have just experienced a masterclass.

Hammoud 1 Restaurant

Liverpool

We know that Sydney’s west is best when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine but that rule also seems to work on a sliding scale; the further west you go, the better it gets. After eating our way through falafel hotspots in Auburn and Fairfield, it became more and more tricky to decide just who to include on this list. But over and over we kept hearing one name when we mentioned our search for the best falafel in Sydney. That name was Hammoud.

Let us tell you, the rumours are true; Hammoud is not messing around. The menu is a refined list of what this spot does best. Things are cheaper out west too but honestly, we could barely believe our eyes when we saw a box of 16 falafel would be just $6 takeaway. That said, we urge you to eat in and get stuck into all the side dishes (you can feed a group of four for under $30).

And the crowning glory in all of this epic feasting is the falafel. Perfectly structured with an excellent crunch falling away to a soft and lightly spiced centre. At last, we had found it. This was and is falafel heaven.

And if you, like us, are also big-time fans of hummus—you’ll want to check out this dedicated hummus bar that does a bottomless hummus happy hour.

Image credit: Yulia Shaihudinova, Louis Hansel, Emma’s Snack Bar, Andrea Kennard, Puvida Productions

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