The most perfect falafel recipe with a beautiful texture and vibrant green colour due to the abundance of kale, pistachios, parsley and peas. This lip smacking, tasty street-food inspired dish is served with a nourishing turmeric tahini sauce and can be served as a wholesome bowl or stuffed pita.
for the falafels
- 2 cups (360g) canned or 5-hour soaked chickpeas
- 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup (75g) pistachios
- 1/2 cup (70g) frozen peas
- 5 garlic cloves
- handful (40g) kale leaves
- 1 cup (30g) flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup (15g) fresh coriander leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 tablespoons buckwheat flour
for the turmeric tahini sauce
- 150g tahini paste
- 4 garlic cloves
- juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/4 packed cup flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 inch piece fresh turmeric root (or) 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1/2 cup cold water
- grapeseed or vegetable oil, for frying
- raw broccoli tabouli, to serve
- lime wedges, to serve
- red chili slices, to serve
- Rinse and drain the canned chickpeas. If using dried chickpeas, soak in hot water for 5 hours. Drain water and use.
- Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor. Add all the other ingredients for the falafel other than the baking powder and flour. Process to a semi-coarse paste.
- Place processed falafel mix in a large bowl. Add baking powder and flour. Mix well.
- Using your palms, shape the falafel mixture into 20 golf-ball sized rounds.
- Heat oil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan on high. Ensure the depth of the oil is only about 5cm. When the oil reaches smoking point, reduce heat to medium. Wait for a minute and then test your first round by sliding it gently and carefully in the hot oil. If the oil is ready, the falafel will instantly rise to the surface. If it starts browning too quickly, reduce heat some more till it is frying at a gently pace, browning evenly. Turn it gently with a slotted spatula and cook the other side until evenly browned. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- Repeat this process with the remaining falafels. If frying 2-3 at once, make sure you adjust the heat as the more falafels you have in the pan, the colder the oil gets.
- To make the turmeric tahini sauce, place all ingredients in the jug of a small processor and blend until smooth and thoroughly mixed.
- Serve falafels on a bed of raw broccoli tabouli with a generous dollop of the tahini sauce, lime wedges and chili. Alternatively, stuff falafels, tabouli and tahini sauce in a small pita bread and enjoy.
- The falafel mix can be made 24 hours in advance. If pre-making the mix to fry later, add the baking powder only when you are ready to fry.
The trick to making the perfect falafel that doesn’t fall apart while frying is to ensure that the falafel mix is not too chunky and has the buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat flour can be subbed with plain flour.
Make sure that the oil is not too hot. Oil temperatures can be adjusted constantly while frying. The rule of thumb is to ensure that the heat is hot enough to fry slowly and evenly. This cooks not only the outside of the falafel but the inside as well. If the oil is too hot, the crust will brown super quickly leaving the inside mushy.
The uncooked falafel rounds can be drizzled with olive oil and baked in a pre-heated oven (190C) for 20 minutes on one side and 15 minutes on the other for a non-fried version. These can also be pan-fried like an omelette flipping gently with a butter knife and using very minimal oil.