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Mezze: falafel

As part of our vegetarian Mezze, we decided to make our own falafel.

I have actually never made falafel before, but these were so quick, easy and delicious I will definitely be making them again.

We had a couple of recipes as a reference point in making these, but didn’t follow any of them too closely. The main issue we had with the different recipes was that they largely required you to soak your own chickpeas (a simple but overnight process) and often only gave the weight of chickpeas pre-soaking not after soaking. We wanted to use canned chickpeas and we didn’t know what the right quantities would be.

Saskia had read that an additional problem with using canned chickpeas is that they can be too moist and the falafel mixture won’t stick together. To avoid this, we drained the chickpeas then put them in a low oven (about 160 degrees C) for about 10 minutes until they dried out.

The next step was to blend the chickpeas with parsley, coriander, salt, onion, garlic and cumin:

We pulsed this until it came together, then added baking powder and flour and pulsed the mixture. The mixture is the right consistency when you can form a small ball in your hand and it holds together. Here is our mixture:

We refrigerated the mixture for about 30 minutes (although it can be refrigerated for several hours). Some recipes stated that the mixture should be formed into balls first, then refrigerated. We hedged our bets by refrigerating the mixture first,  forming the balls and while waiting for the oil to come to temperature, briefly refrigerating the balls.

We heated our vegetable oil in a steep sided pan until it reached 180 C. We gently lowered the balls into the oil and cooked them for a couple of minutes until golden brown:

These were drained on paper towel, sprinkled with some sea salt and then promptly devoured by our guests!


2 cans chickpeas (each can was 400g with 240g drained weight)
1/2 large white onion (roughly chopped, about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
pinch of sea salt
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (1 ounce/24 grams) (you may need a bit extra)
tasteless oil for frying (vegetable, canola, peanut, soybean, etc.), you will need enough so that the oil is three inches deep in whatever pan you are using for frying – for our pan we used 2 litres


  • Drain the chickpeas then spread them on a baking dish and bake for about 10 minutes at 160 C. Let them cool.
  • Place the chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  • Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes or more.
  • Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts. Refrigerate while the oil is heating.
  • Heat 3 inches of oil to 180C in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and serve!
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3 Responses to “Mezze: falafel”

  1. Hannah says:

    Hurrah for a felafel recipe I can actually foresee making! I’ve always been turned off recipes for the reasons you mention, and tend to just end up eating chickpeas straight from the can when I need my fix 😛

    I smell change in the air now, though!

  2. Emily says:

    Hi Hannah

    Yes you should definitely try this – so quick and easy and delicous as well! So much nicer than the falafel I usually buy. This will absolutely be a staple of mine from now on!

    Also, I think you can bake them if the oil factor is a bit too much. Bake them on a nonstick pad at 160C, just until they’re firm, about 20 minutes.


  3. Michele says:

    Your falafels are just perfect! Yum!

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