I love street food. I think one of the best ways to explore different cultures and various regions of food is by the local vendors and concessions. Falafel is a very culturally rich food but it’s also common street food all over the place! There’s nothing like a fried doughy ball of veggies from a questionable food cart. But there’s also nothing like a perfectly crisp and richly flavored classic falafel.
What is falafel?
Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made with mashed chickpeas and herbs. They’re usually fried and made like veggie fritters. They’re super delicious when made right, but without enough herbs or too many herbs you can completely mess up the delicate flavor balance. American restaurants often make very bland falafel so I made sure to keep this falafel flavorful and colorful.
Falafel tastes and feels similar to a meatball. It’s a little bit bready and has that distinct meatball consistency. I’m part Jewish so falafel is one of my comfort foods. It makes you feel good, even if you aren’t accustomed to it.
Ways to eat falafel.
Falafel doesn’t have a super distinct flavor which makes it a very versatile dish. Traditionally it’d be served in pita bread, but I like to try out different recipes. You can add it to a bowl of rice and beans with some fresh veggies and tahini sauce. You can eat it as a burger, a salad, and even soup!
Recipe in depth.
-1 drained can of chickpeas
- Most people use dried chickpeas and then soak them, but a can works just as well. If you’re using dried chickpeas, use about 1 1/2 cups instead.
-1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
-1/4 cup of fresh chives
-4 cloves of minced garlic
-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Fresh ingredients are key to this recipe. If you try falafel made completely with dried spices vs falafel made with fresh herbs you can easily tell the difference. The lemon juice keeps the color from these fresh ingredients to avoid your falafel from turning brown.
-1 tbsp ground cumin
-1 tbsp of turmeric
-1 tsp of salt
-1 tsp of pepper
-1 tbsp parsley
-2 tablespoons of flour
-2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add chickpeas, cilantro, chives, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, parsley, and flour to a food processor and blend.
- Add a little extra flour and water until it’s able to be handled.
- Dust hands and plate with flour and form falafel patties with the dough.
- Cook in a cast-iron skillet with olive oil. Fry each side for about 5 minutes or until it is golden brown and crispy.
- Take it off the skillet, let cool and enjoy!