It's about soaking dry beans and using garbanzos in falafel.

I've soaked black beans and garbanzos overnight at room temp in water to cover. Lately I've seen recipes calling for keeping them refrigerated overnight while soaking. Wondering why. I also followed that direction in making falafel recently, that is soaking them refrigerated and after grinding the garbanzos in the food processor and adding the other ingredients, I found that they fell apart. There was no binder included in the ingredient list but the recipe creator said hers did NOT fall apart. Any ideas?

  • Posted by: Fern
  • March 18, 2011


Fern March 21, 2011
Wanted to thank all of you for your input. I will try the various methods suggested and see which one works best. The flavor of the fried falafel patties was very good so I'm likely to want to make them again.
Peanut March 21, 2011
I just made Mark Bittman's Chickpea & Pasta Soup (from the NYT Magazine a couple of weeks ago); it uses dried chickpeas and doesn't call for pre-soaking them. You just bring them to a boil and then simmer them with aromatics and chopped tomatoes. They came out great, as did the soup overall. I wonder if you really need to pre-soak garbanzo beans? (I hope the answer isn't "you don't have to, but if you don't you'll get mortifying gas...")
susan G. March 18, 2011
If you need a binder to boost the 'dough', use chickpea flour -- but traditionally, your recipe should work. Another binder option, a falafal mix, but that defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
Panfusine March 18, 2011
Binding is done by some form of protein strands that stiffens up under heat to form a mesh to keep any deep fried food from disintegrating. If the Garbanzo beans were crumbly in the mixture, its possible that not enough of the inherent protein was fluid enough to react in the oil. Try adding a tiny bit of extra water while grinding to get some sort of moist paste surrounding the garbanzo mix. but too much water & its gonna explode in the oil..
student E. March 18, 2011
oops, miswrote: not worth refridgerating for an extended period to promote tenderness.
student E. March 18, 2011
putting the beans prevents them from sprouting or fermenting. i suppose it could also stymie the growth of antimicrobials (but you will be boiling the heck out of them when you cook them, so i don't know how serious a concern that should be). i've never had a problem with spouting when just soaking over night, so i'm not sure it's worth sacrificing tenderness.
littleknitter March 18, 2011
Well, I suppose that refrigeration would be to guard against the beans fermenting, though it's really not necessary if you're only soaking the beans overnight and are going to be cooking them anyway. My best guess as to why the refrigerated beans fell apart is because it takes longer for beans to soak and soften in cold water rather than room temp water due to the excitation (or lack thereof) of water molecules in hot vs. cold water. The softer and more soaked a bean is, the more likely it will be to stick to the other beans when ground up, so I would recommend either soaking the beans outside of the fridge OR soaking them for longer in the fridge OR using the hot soak method. Also, you didn't specify in your question, but you might want to try cooking them first to maximize the starchy stick-togetherness factor.
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