Falafel

Herby Falafel: Fried, Green, and Ready by Dinner

December  8, 2014

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.

Today: What's filling, fried, and green all over? This falafel is not a joke.

Falafel

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A top-five food group is the one named Things Mashed Up Together and Then Fried. Sometimes called fritters or pancakes, they are a sneaky way to get vegetables and legumes into the bodies of picky eaters, and also make for a grade-A post-midnight snack food option. The OG mashed up and fried thing, for the uneducated among us, is falafel. 

More: Looking for more mashed and fried things? Try these potato fritters.

My defining falafel moment happened last February in Brussels, on the street after a concert. Very cold and very starving, I popped into the nearest shwarma/durum wrap/doner kebab outpost -- the ubiquitous late-night roundup of seemingly all of Europe -- and ordered a vegetarian pita slathered in tzatziki. The falafel was perfect: herby green on the inside and golden-fried on the outside, little bits of actual heaven cradled by my bread pocket, music to my ringing ears. Everything else around me disappeared.

When I came crashing back to reality, I was standing in the lobby of my hostel, holding only a saucy wax paper wrapper, the house where a magnificent sandwich had once lived. I had no recollection of the walk home, only of taking bite after bite of crispy chickpea goodness while, ostensibly, my legs carried me 10 blocks up Boulevard Anspachlaan.  

Falafel

I cannot recreate that falafel sandwich's level of perfection, probably because it used the secret and inimitable flavoring of a European adventure, but the mashed and fried things detailed below come pretty darn close. If I were you, I’d whip out your food processor immediately -- and then maybe also a Google Maps street view of your favorite foreign city.

Herby Falafel

Makes about 16 falafel

2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cans)
2 cups chopped fresh parsley
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 small onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup flour
Canola oil, for frying

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photos by James Ransom

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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3 Comments

Kabra January 1, 2015
I have been making a baked felafel for family for awhile to avoid the fried food and it is quicker and much less mess. You don't shape the balls, just put it into a 9 inch square pan and put it in the oven at 400F for 30 min. After cooking, use a spoon to dollop it into pitas with lemon-yogurt-tahini sauce, lettuce, tomato, diced onion and cucumbers. Even thumbs up from the kids. If you bake the shaped patties they can end up dry.
 
Annie December 10, 2014
What would you serve with that?
 
Viktoria December 9, 2014
Do you think I could bake them in the oven? Thanks!