• Yield: 10
  • Serving: 6
  • Prep time: 30 m
  • Cook time: 20 m
  • Ready in: 50 m
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Homemade falafels are fabulous as you can add herbs and spices that are so often sadly lacking in the ready made ones. By stuffing them into a pitta with hummus and salad you have a full and satisfying meal, perfect for on-the-go eating.

Note: you will need to begin this recipe the night before you want to eat, as the chickpeas need to soak overnight.


Step by Step Methods

  • Step No 1

    Soak the chickpeas overnight in plenty of cold water (at least double their volume). Drain the chickpeas well and weigh into a bowl; they should have approximately doubled in weight. Add 750g of the chickpeas to a food processor – these will become the falafels. Add the onion, garlic and herbs and pulse until you have a crumbly mixture.

  • Step No 2

    Place the cumin, coriander and chilli, if using, into a small frying pan and dry fry for a minute over a high heat until you can smell their aroma wafting up from the pan. Tip into a pestle and mortar and grind roughly before adding to the food processor. Add the flour, 4 tablespoons cold water, baking powder and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper, then pulse again until it forms a coarse paste. Tip into a bowl and chill in the fridge for an hour. This lets the flavours develop and allows the chickpeas to soak in the moisture. Wash and dry the food processor.

  • Step No 3

    While the falafel mix is resting, make the hummus. Tip the remaining chickpeas into a large saucepan. Sprinkle over the bicarbonate of soda and cover well with fresh cold water. Set the pan over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil, cooking for 25–35 minutes, until tender.

  • Step No 4

    Drain the chickpeas and tip into the clean food processor, along with the tahini, garlic and lemon juice. Process until you have a coarse paste. With the motor running, start to add the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until the hummus is as smooth as you want it to be. I like mine as smooth as possible, but process for a little less time if you like it coarser. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and a squeeze more lemon juice if you like, and scrape into a bowl. Set aside to rest while you continue with the falafels.

  • Step No 5

    Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer to 180°C/350°F. Take tablespoonfuls of the falafel mixture and roll into balls about the size of a walnut. You need to press and squeeze the mixture together really firmly so it doesn’t crumble during cooking; using slightly wet hands helps prevent too much stickiness. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, lining them up on a baking tray. Fry in batches in the hot oil for 4–5 minutes, until deeply golden and crisp, draining on kitchen paper as you go.

  • Step No 6

    Combine all the salad ingredients together in a bowl, seasoning to taste with a little salt and pepper. To serve, spread a generous spoonful or two of hummus inside an open pitta bread; top with a few falafels, a little salad and a drizzle of chilli sauce, if using.

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