Monday, July 18, 2011

Falafel Failure

By the looks of this picture, you can't tell what I've been through. My first effort failed miserably. I even suggested to my husband that he make himself a *-%-#-&-$- sand which if he was so hungry. Eating dinner at 8:00 isn't extraordinarily late, especially in the summer, but he wanted to get out on his new Kayak. I call it his mistress. He takes her out on dates and overnight get-a-ways. When he talks about his latest ocean escapades, his eyes sparkle and he wears this dumb grin on his face. He is shameless!

I am racked with guilt on the other hand, because tonight I had to resort to using a chicken embryo in my falafels. My first batch slowly melted into the fry pan of oil. When I tried to turn them they just rolled out of their bottom layer.That's when I noticed the oil was turning greenish and turgid. Soon I had gooey and fragrant boiling hot oil.

Okay, regroup. My inspiration, Anne Burrel of the Food Channel, boiled chick peas from scratch to make falafels. Sorry, but I can't be bothered to soak beans overnight, and boil them in fresh water with carrot, onion, celery, sage, and bay leaves. PLEASE. They make canned garbanzo beans for our convenience. Although, I did taste test three differently priced labels out of curiosity. Yes, when you pay more, the beans are bigger and better tasting too. So how did I go wrong?

I thought I saw her loading the cooked chick peas into her food processor. Toasting 1 1/2 teaspoon each cumin and coriander seed in a dry pan, then grinding them in a coffee grinder (reserved only for spices-like I have one of those handy,right!) Then she grabbed some parsley, cilantro and chopped onion to add. With a little lemon zest, cayenne powder, and 1/4 cup bread crumbs, she began pulsing the mix. Lastly, she drizzled olive oil into the processor. I couldn't find the exact recipe on her website, but here is what I used to remedy my disaster.

2 cans garbanzo beans
1/2 cup flour plus 3-4 tablespoons, if needed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large egg
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse in a food processor until almost smooth. Transfer to bowl, add more flour if necessary to firm up mixture. Shape into balls and fry about 8 minutes, until crisp and brown. Drain on paper towels.

Tahini Sauce
1 cup sesame paste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup FRESH lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Put all into food processor and mix until smooth. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil into blender and salt and pepper to taste. Blend some more. Add some water if too thick. Think dipping sauce.

I served them on a bed of salad. I bet many types of vegetables would pair with falafels and tahini sauce. Maybe there is a good egg substitute that can make these vegan. Maybe you can find the recipe I thought I watched on the food channel. Anyhow, falafels were one of the first popularized hippy foods I remember from the college town of Isla Vista. Then after a time you could buy a falafel mix in regular grocery stores, but they never tasted as good as Baba's Falafel stand. It took me decades to finally figure out that they were made of garbanzo beans!


  1. The egg makes this dish not vegan

    1. Absolutely right, Max. We apololgize that this error wasn't caught beforehand. S. Keith