No Deep Fry Chickpea & Broad Bean Falafal – Middle Eastern Mezze
I love a good Middle Eastern Mezze! And falafals are always at the centre for me. I’ve had some amazing ones, my most memorable being at a restaurant in Eygpt. And I’ve had some pretty bad ones… dense, dry and no flavour. A good falafel for me is crispy on the outside and wonderfully soft on the inside, not too densely packed or dry and full of Middle Eastern flavours from garlic, cumin and coriander.
It doesn’t stop there though. For me, they should be served with fresh pitta or flat bread, a medley of condiments and pickled salads. So I bring to you my no deep fry Middle Eastern Mezze: chickpea and broad bean falafals, served with wholemeal sesame pitta bread, garlic sauce, spicy harissa, cayenne chilli pepper hummus and a pickled cabbage salad.
It may sound like a lot to do or you might think that this is going to be no easy job, but I promise you it’s much more straightforward than it sounds and the result…. taste bud satisfyingly good. This delivers on texture, flavour and nutrition!
Falafal recipes vary across the Middle East, in some parts they’re made strictly with chickpeas and in others with broadbeans. I’ve gone for a combination of both, the broad beans give the falafal a beautiful colour and fresh flavour, whilst the chickpeas give texture and substance.
- • 2 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- • 1 cup frozen broad beans
- • 1 large brown or white onion
- • 6-8 green chillies
- • 4 cloves garlic
- • thumb size piece of ginger
- • small bunch of coriander
- • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds
- • 2.5 tbsp ground cumin and coriander powder
- • 2 tbsp heaped all-purpose flour for binding
- • 1 ½ tsp salt
- • 1 tsp baking powder
- • vegetable oil for pan frying or baking
- For the chickpeas, I prefer to use dried chickpeas which I soak overnight in hot salted water (approx. 10-12hours). I then cook them in the pressure cooker the next morning for 20mins, just until tender and then drain the cooking water. Tinned chickpeas work fine too, again drain the preservation water.
- For the broad beans I have used frozen and simply defrosted them in boiled water for 5 mins. Be sure to drain the beans, making sure no excess water remains. Fresh broad beans work great too and there is no need to cook them.
- Next, quarter the onion and roughly chop the ginger. Place both in a food processor, along with the chickpeas, broad beans, green chillies, garlic, salt, baking powder and ground cumin and coriander powder. Pulse until you get a crumble like consistency. See the above picture for reference. The consistency is important, as over pulsing will make the mixture too loose, making it harder for the falafals to hold together. If you find the mixture is too loose, simply add more flour to bind.
- Check the salt content and adjust as necessary.
- Add the sesame seeds and mix.
- The mixture is now ready for shaping. I prefer to shape mine like mini burgers as this shape lends itself well to pan frying and baking.
- For pan frying, I’d suggest using a non-stick frying pan brushed with just a little oil. Cook the falafals on a low to medium heat for 4-5mins on each side or just until golden.
- For the baked version, lightly grease a baking tray with oil and then arrange the falafals on the tray. Pre-heat your oven to 200 and cook for 10-15mins and then flip and cook another 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.