Friday, 9 May 2008

Faffing around with falafel


These are the falafel I made last night. Not bad for a first time attempt, eh?

A word of advice, though. Don't even think about it. By the time I'd discovered my neighbour's food processor wasn't up to the task and transferred the mixture to my more powerful blender then found even that wouldn't break down the chickpeas and tipped them into a bowl and chopped the herbs and ground the spices and washed up the mountains of equipment and crockery I had used I must have spent a good two hours in the kitchen.

They tasted good, granted but to achieve that light fluffy texture that the best falafel have I suspect you need to have several generations of felafel-making in the family or be cooking them every day of your life. They're one of those foods like croissants or strudel pastry that you could master if you spent a year or so perfecting your technique but why bother when you can sate your falafel-lust at any halfway decent street stall?

Anyway the good news is that the accompanying salad leaves from the veg box were very tasty and that there were enough for another helping today. Later on I'm tackling the cauliflower . . .

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've had similar problems involving chickpeas when trying to make houmous...so much easier to just buy it ready made.

Fiona Beckett said...

actually I'm convinced of the virtues of making houmous from scratch - on cost grounds if for no other reason. If you've got a food processor it's a doddle. It's uncooked chickpeas that are such a pain to handle.

Jane K said...

I have had similar problems with falafel and Houmous. Please fiona if you have a foolproof way with the Houmous please let me know. I just end up with horrible sludge.

Career Misfit said...

The Dandy Warhols had a song on one of their albums called '[Love Is The New] Feel Awful' which, as a by-product of their accents, they often shortened during live shows to refer to simply as, 'Falafel'.

Totally non-food-related remark, I realise; just a thought that struck me as I was reading this. Sorry.

Fiona Beckett said...

Not at all Career Misfit. The more cultural references the better;-) Have you read a novel 'He died with a Felafel in his Hand'? by John Birmingham? Hilarious.

Jane, I'll try and remember to post my houmous recipe as soon as I've finished reporting on the Great Vegbox Experiment.

travisthetrout said...

I've managed to get the blended chickpeas thing sorted (totally love making houmous)- by using tinned chickpeas, rather than soaking them. However, the falafel tends to fall apart and become difficult to handle much to my disappointment as tasty as it is.

Fiona Beckett said...

Hi Travis and welcome to The Frugal Cook!

I have had some success with making little patties with tinned chickpeas and other pulses like red kidney beans but you need something else to hold the mixture together like ground rice or polenta. Can post a recipe if you're interested.

travisthetrout said...

fiona, that would be great if you could post a recipe, thanks for the reply.

Fiona Beckett said...

Hi Travis - I've just posted a recipe for some Thai-style chickpea and cashew nut cakes on www.beyondbakedbeans.com/articles/20080523

Hope you enjoy it!

Tommi said...

You have to cook the chickpeas (not just soak them) and they'll puree in a food processor just fine. But my falafel were too pureed and I ended up with a huge mess, so I ended by baking them on a cookie sheet. Not great, but better than nothing.

Mr. Jolly said...

Actually the classic falafel comes uses soaked chickpeas. I soak them overnight and then mix loads of parsley, coriander and coriander and cumin powder + onion and use one of those hand held processors. A little bicarb also makes them more fluffy. They also need to be deep fried. Also try using fava beans instead of chickpeas or mix of the two.

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