OK, the above is a pretty badly color-corrected and giantly smashed falafel (with zhoug, garlic yogurt and beet-pickled red onions with mint), but for testing purposes our teeth were still able to chomp on it very successfully.


We always loves us a good falafel, and lately it seems like the little guys are showing up more and more often around our pad. Thing is, they're not so so cheap if someone else makes them for you, so we decided to give it another go ourselves.

Like any superpopular and time-honored traditional dish, there are scads of regional evolutions and passionate opinions about how to do it "right": favas or chickpeas; cooked or uncooked; what kinds/ratios of herbs, ect ect ect.

We tried it once a long time ago, and then we used uncooked chickpeas, soaked instead of cooked, as is the general tradition. Something must've not gone quite right with the whole soaking process, I remember an inedible, undercooked result that might have even gone unserved: Mara doesn't remember it.

So in the interest of ending up with something that could jump in our bellies tonight, I went with chickpeas that I had cooked from scratch yesterday (unsalted). This recipe was quite specific about barely grinding the beans, I guess so that we wouldn't end up with a gummy, overstarched mess (thanks to Zora for asking about this in the Comments).

And...more data is required. I don't think these are exactly gummy, I've enjoyed falafel like these before...but the test batch was a bit..."moist" inside, not sure if it was my cooking technique or the recipe, we'll see tomorrow when I do a real batch of real-sized balletjes. In any event, the seasoning proportions below are almost perfectly perfect.

UPDATE: I have eaten so much falafel in the past few days that I must smell like a cliché. You know, that addled old Greek or Italian (or some other onion-and-garlic-eating cuisine) chef who tries to make perverted advances on a young female protagonist working as a waitress or hostess in a crappy diner in one of those 80s kind of pre-hipster-irony I-can-make-it-in-the-big-city-if-I-try novels of which I cannot think of a single example. But you know what I mean...she's ending her shift, I'm drunk in the kitchen, screaming at the dishwashers, wearing a blood-and-grease-stained wife-beater with "my breath reeking of stale onions, garlic and cooking wine", when she tries to squeeze by me to get to the walk-in I ect ect ect.

The falafel: it's not like most falafel I know, so I assume it's the uncooked vs. cooked thing. These falafel are totally delicious, and they hold their form well enough to be flipped, but you could never, for example, throw one at someone and have them catch it and pop it in their mouth (this was the first example that popped into my head, which gives you some idea of my home environment). The last falafel I had like these were at Falafel Dan down by the Tuschinski, which I think is out of business now, probably because no one could play catch with their falafel balls.



2 cups roughly chopped white onion
6 garlic cloves
2 cups cooked, unsalted chickpeas, drained
2 cups lightly packed cilantro leaves
slightly less than 1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon hot paprika or cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seed, whole
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup chickpea flour or all-purpose flour


The instructions are important, and forthcoming.


I also made another nice new fish salad, as unappetizing as that sounds...but you know we dig on some mfkn fish salad up in this bitch. Tonight's was noteworthy in that it was my first time cooking successfully with Moroccan preserved lemon, I really liked it.

north african fish salad with potatoes and preserved lemon.

600g firm white fish, original suggests monkfish, I used earth-destroying panga
200g cubed, cooked potato, I kind of poached mine in olive oil and used 2 tbsp of that oil as the 2 tbsp listed below

juice of a lemon
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp EV olive oil
2 tbsp capers
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 or possibly up to 1/2 of a preserved lemon, flesh scooped out, rind (not zest, whole rind) diced small or minced



Zora said...

It's always been my understanding that the beans (or chickpeas) for falafel are traditionally just soaked, not cooked. I have made it this way a couple of times (with dried favas), and it's been quite good. Seems like fully cooked beans would get too gummy from starch?

MEM said...

yyyyyyis. this is a recipe in progress. i know about the soaking not cooking, but we've tried that before with imperfect results.

the flavor for these is absolutely perfect, the texture is...not gummy, but something. more soon.

Zora said...

Intriguing! Thanks for experimenting. It's been so long since I did them here that I don't quite remember the details. Makes me think I should give it another go...