Falafel, I love them!
My love affair with all food Middle Eastern began nearly twenty years ago when my husband and I bought the most amazing little Lebanese Kebab and Vegetarian café in Queenstown. Habebes, a little café with a big attitude and the most amazing array of foods, not the least of which were the fabulous little falafels. We owned and ran Habebes for twelve years through floods, relocations and good times, that is history now but the great memories and my love of Falafels live on.
The method we used to make the falafel at Habebes was very specialised and not something I was able to do at home until, through the genius of the internet, I chanced upon the idea of making them in the waffle press. The perfect solution for a mix that is at its most delicious slightly loose and in need of pressing into shape.
The recipe for the Felafel we made at Habebes is top secret so this is a version that I have made to satisfy my cravings at home. The little falafel are very versatile, great for a mezze type platter, in a salad wrap or as a side to as simple or complex a salad as you care to make. Served with hummus, tahini, yogurt or chilli, they are satisfying and delicious. Add that to the fact that you have avoided any need to deep fry and these are definitely all good.
The recipe for these is as follows
Makes approximately 20 larger size Falafels
- 250gm chickpeas – not cooked!
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- I medium onion
- Big handful of fresh herbs such as parsley, coriander and mint
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (+ more) for cooking
It is very important that the chickpeas for these Falafel are properly soaked. This involves covering with cold water for at least 12 hours, then thoroughly rinsing and recovering them again with fresh cold water and then leaving again for at least another 12 hours. Generally, I follow this process over two days. The chickpeas are then well rinsed and allowed to drain.
In a food processor I put the chickpeas, the roughly chopped onion and fresh herbs, and all other ingredients. I then pulse these ingredients until they are a finely chopped mixture. It is very important to pulse as you do not want this to turn into a paste, the texture definitely adds to the enjoyment of the finished product
Finally heat your waffle press and either spray or brush a little olive oil over the surfaces.
Once it is warm, I take spoonfuls of falafel mix and roll into firm balls and place on the press.
Once you place down the lid they will lose this round shape but the raggedy edges are crisp and delicious.
The size of these depends on how you are serving them, if I am using as part of a Platter I will make small ones and maybe put four at a time in my two waffle press, for a meal size I like a bigger one
These are now ready to cook until golden brown, don’t hurry this process as you want them to cook through. You can continue cooking and cook the whole Falafel mix or cook what you want now and save the mix for another time. I have not left the mix more than a day or so and I am not sure how well it would freeze, try it if you like and let me know! They do make a really quick and easy snack food to dip into the fridge for – and are one of my favourites.
Eat and enjoy