Falafel Fail

Last night I had my family over for dinner and I decided to do a vegetarian style Greek dinner.  The menu was falafel sandwich with hummus and salad.  I used this recipe for a greek yogurt dressing for the salad, which I thought was very good.  The hint of fresh mint was a very nice touch.  For the hummus I used my usual recipe which I think is fairly standard and is usually a hit.  But, when it came to the falafel sandwiches, they were …. well, just okay.  And okay is fine, but usually when I invite people, especially family, over for dinner I hope for better.

For one, I baked the falafel not wanting to deal with the mess of frying.  I suppose that may have been the bigger of my mistakes.  But, I used this recipe and just found it to be a bit lacking.  In addition, I pulled another recipe for the tahini sauce and it was simply too overpowering.  It was very thick unlike the tahini sauce I am accustomed to seeing in my local Greek restaurant.  I was almost wondering what would have happened had I inverted the quantities of tahini and lemon juice.

At any rate, everyone ate their meal with no complaints and said that everything was good.  But, I know it could have been better.   So, my questions for you … has anyone got a good falafel recipe?  I love falafel and definitely want to try again.  Also, do I have to fry it to get the real deal at home?  What about a good tahini sauce?

3 thoughts on “Falafel Fail”

  1. This is what I use. And I definitely thing deep frying is necessary – it’s just not health food!

    Ingredients:

    1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight in 4 cups cold water
    2 – 3 slices bread
    ½ – ⅔ cup chopped fresh coriander
    2 cloves garlic, skinned and chopped
    1 tsp cumin
    ½ – 1 tsp chilli powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    oil for deep frying

    Method:

    Mix all ingredients except oil then process to fairly smooth in a food processor. You may need to add a little water.
    Place the mixture in a large bowl and knead till it comes together.
    Cover the mixture and stand ½ – 1 hour.
    Shape into small balls (we usually get about 20), slightly flattened, and deep fry 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown.

    Serve hot with a tsatsiki sauce (1 – 1½ cups yoghurt; one small cucumber, finely chopped; handful mint, finely chopped; juice and zest of one lemon; garlic and salt to taste).

    Felafel reheat beautifully in the microwave.

    from a Middle Eastern Cooking Class, Selwyn College Community Education, 2000

  2. oh yeah, what I’m calling chickpeas you probably call garbanzos. And this recipe uses them raw (soaked, but not cooked). If you use cooked ones (or tinned ones) you get a much smoother texture. I think they don’t taste so good like that. But with the uncooked chickpeas you need to really firmly squeeze them in the shaping bit, otherwise they fall apart in the oil.

    This recipe came from an Iraqi woman.

  3. Thanks, Heather, I’ll have to give this a try. I was afraid of that about the frying, but it seems like it will be worth it. I wasn’t concerned about the health issue, mostly about the cleanup. I hate fooling with oil.

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