~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Israeli Falafel...Gluten-Free

Israeli Falafel...Gluten-Free. Sometimes I like to make a meatless meal. But when opting for that choice, I like to bring in a ton of flavor to compensate for the lack of meat. Falafel is a great choice.. it is meatless, yet it doesn't sacrifice on flavor.
This time around, I decided to make some falafel at home. As much as I try to avoid deep frying, I find that making a good falafel leaves you with no other option than to deep fry. Believe me, I tried baking the falafels. The baked version wasn't necessarily bad, they were just a bit more"gummy". I also found them to be a bit more dense....probably due to the fact that they didn't rise or puff up very much. The deep fried version was lighter in texture and puffed up a bit. I was glad that the falafels didn't absorb very much oil~ as they weren't greasy at all.
In order to save on oil, I use a small pot to deep fry. The smaller the diameter of the pot the less oil I need to use. I cook about 5 falafels at a time, and this works very well for me. This way I don't waste oil. I especially like to use grapeseed oil to do my deep frying... grapeseed oil can be quite expensive, so using a smaller pot helps tremendously. I also like to make a larger batch of falafel, which I freeze for later. I will usually re-heat the falafels in the toaster oven. Ideally, the falafels are best eaten hot, right after they are fried. The trick to not having the falafel break apart on you while frying, is to process the mixture until fine....sort of like coarse sand with bigger bits of chickpeas scattered throughout(that's the best explanation I can give). If the texture of the falafel mixture is too coarse, it will not hold together....and thus breaking apart on you during frying. Some people say to add flour....that it helps to bind the mixture. In my case, I found it not necessary. They fried beautifully.
If you would like to see a video clip on how the falafels are made, you can watch this VIDEO. Also, I think it is important to use dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight to get the right texture. Personally, I wouldn't use canned chickpeas. The falafels are best stuffed in a pita bread with your favorite condiments. You can use chopped tomatoes, onion, sauerkraut, pickled turnips/radish, lettuce, etc...Drizzle a bit of tahini and some yoghurt and you have a wonderful meatless sandwich that is full of flavor. This is one of the sandwiches I made using the pickled carrots/radish I posted earlier Hope you enjoy....

You will need: inspired by Epicurious...makes about 30-40 falafels depending on size.
16 oz(1 lb or 2 3/4 cups) dried chickpeas
2 cups diced onion
3-4 garlic cloves
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps cumin
1 tsp coriander, ground
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt( or to taste)
2-3 tsps chile flakes (or to taste)
1/2- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro (or to taste)

Condiments: can include any or some of the following
Chopped onion,
Chopped tomato
cilantro leaves

Place dried chickpeas in a large bowl.
Cover with plenty of water....about 2 inches above the chickpeas.
Place in refrigerator overnight.
Drain chickpeas well. They should have swelled up doubled in size at least.
In a bowl of a food processor, add the soaked chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients.
Process till fine...stopping and scraping the sides if need be. You don't want a complete paste but neither do you want the mixture to be coarse. You want to err on the finer side rather than too course. If it is too coarse, the falafel will disintegrate and not hold together when you fry them.
You should be able to scoop out a a TBS and see the indentation in the mixture. The falafel mixture will be moist. Refrigerate the mixture for a 1-2 hours. Take falafel mixture out from the refrigerator and form balls...with a light hand. Fry a few falafel at a time in hot oil(350 deg or so) till nicely golden brown. I do not like to waste too much oil...so when I fry, I use a smaller pot.
Serve falafel hot.
Place falafel inside a pita bread and add some garnishes/condiments to include any or all of the following: chopped onion, tomato, pickled radish/or sauerkraut, tahini, yoghurt, cilantro leaves, etc.


Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Ellie you've done it again!! This sounds and looks amazing! Falafel is one of my favorite foods - I've never made it from scratch, always from the dry box mix. That was pretty good but homemade, I can imagine how DELICIOUS these are gonna be!! Dry garbanzo beans are on my shopping list :)

Jennifurla said...

this looks just so good I can barely resist

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Great click.looks awesome

Speranta said...

Am incercat reteta ,si ce crezi ?
M-am bucurat ca sunt bune !imi plac tare mult ...multimiri multe :)

Rose said...

You're right, Ellie. Nothing beats a deep-fried falafel. I've tried baking and pan-frying them, they're just not the same. These look awesome... and now, and now I want a deep fryer!!

Mihaela said...

Ellie, falafel-ul tau arata asa bine! Ma imbie sa incerc si eu :)

Ellie said...

Thank you Andrea! I sure hope you can try them and let me know how you like them.

Jennifurla, they were definitely delicious:)...

Sailaja, Thank you ..I appreciate it

Speranta. Imi pare bine ca iti a placut si tie:)!...

Rose, Ah, you too tried baking them...good to know that we are on the same page...definitely deep-fried. If you get a deep fryer, then you really got it made:)... think of all the other good stuff you can make with a deep fryer...

Mihaela, Au fost asa de bune!... Baking powder in compozitie ii da o culoare asa placuta cand se rumeneste si le face si mai crocante. Sper sa iti placa si tie... daca le incerci:)

Mihaela said...

They look sooo tasty !

Ellie said...

Mihaela, Thank you...they really were quite tasty:)! We enjoyed them...Thanks for stopping by.

siggy said...

Ellie, I am so glad I found your site. A lot of the food you post about is stuff from my childhood, and you inspired me to cook it! I made a version of falafel and posted it in my blog. It won't post until tomorrow. I also linked your blog to it. Thanks!

Ellie said...

Oh, Siggy... I am so glad you are enjoying the blog! Thank you for your sweet comment, it means a ton. I couldn't aak for more than the blog to be of an inspiration to those who read it. I am thrilled that you made the falafel, can hardly wait to see your version:). I'll be stopping by for sure.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this delicious looking felafel recipe, and also for the beautiful nature pictures! I have a question for you: although the recipe says "baking powder" the Chef in the video recommends "baking soda", please clarify...

Ellie said...

Anon, I ended up going off the recipe posted on the Epicurious website which used baking powder... it is Joan's Nathan's original recipe.

Now I know the chef did say baking soda... but his recipe is a variation of Joan Nathan's recipe. And yes, his version uses baking soda. You can find his recipe here:


Hope that helps. And thanks for stopping by...