If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably know that I’m practically obsessed with falafel!
My first attempts to make falafel were with breadcrumbs, then I found that I preferred the texture of falafel made with flour. But, the be all and end all of perfectly textured falafel (for me, anyway) is bulgur. Bulgur makes the lightest, crispiest, most wonderful falafel of all!
After several years of tasting, testing, and obsessing, I think I finally have my “forever” falafel recipe :)
1/4 t black pepper
Having tried lots of falafel in many different places, I know that it can range from bland to strongly seasoned. I prefer falafel that can stand on its own, so I season mine at the heavy end of the measurements I’ve given here. However, I’ve made this recipe over and over, and seasoning at the light end should not disappoint you. If I were making this for guests who aren’t into strong flavors, I’d go light on the onion, garlic, and cumin. falafel recipe with bulgur
I always use raw chickpeas. Soak them overnight, drain, and rinse. Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over the bulgur and set it aside for 30 minutes or so.
Roughly chop the onion in a food processor, then add the soaked chickpeas and pulse it a few times. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice and pulse it until it it’s well blended, but not pureed.
Add the soaked bulgur and baking powder, then pulse it until a small ball forms. Depending on how long I’ve soaked my chickpeas, the dough might seem too wet here, so I’ll add some flour a spoonful at a time until a ball forms. It shouldn’t be sticky.
This is where I stir in the parsley. You can add it along with the garlic, etc., but then you risk having green falafel, not that there’s anything wrong with green falafel. Actually some of the best falafel I’ve ever had (Kho San Road, Bangkok) was green, but aesthetically, I prefer little flecks of green.
I like to refrigerate my dough overnight because it makes cooking easier, and allows the flavors to mingle, but a few hours should do.
I’ve given up my falafel press and I’m back to using my cookie scoop. Form the mixture into small patties, and flatten them slightly. Pan fry the patties in a bit of oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side, until they’re a nice golden brown.
My favorite way to serve (and eat!) them these days is in a flatbread with lettuce, tomato, pickled veggies, creme fraiche dressing, and a bit of my own homemade falafel red sauce. The creme fraiche dressing and pickled veggies are something I picked up from kebab houses here, I buy them at the Middle Eastern markets.
P.S. Did you know that you can freeze falafel? I tell you how to do it here.
Mama Minou says
This sounds delicious! Any idea on how to make it without a food processor? I do have a blender, but I’m not sure that it would create the same textures.
Jennifer Norman says
This looks so yummy! I have to try it! I’m a Connecticut native who has recently moved to the UK. Have a look at my blog if you’re interested! Would love to have a friend living overseas who has moved from America :) Jennifer http://cupcakesandcastles.blogspot.co.uk/
Aesoon Lee says
I just tried this recipe….it was delicious! It will now become my go to recipe for falafel. Thank you for sharing!
Mama Minou: I’ve never made it without a food processor, but if I had to attempt it, I’d try blending the chickpeas in small batches, then stir in the rest of the ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer. Please report back if you attempt it :)
Jennifer: I’m also a Connecticut Native. Where in CT are you from? I was living in West Hartford before coming to Denmark. I love cupcakes and will stop by your blog :)
Aesoon Lee: Yay! I’m happy you liked it! As we say in Denmark… velbekomme (sort of like “bon appétit”)
Sage, I finally made your falafel!! The first time my tall half has had them and, let’s just say, I had my fingers crossed. While not a meat and potatoes guy, I tread carefully in the non-fish and meat territories. So, you know I was thrilled (and relieved) to hear him say “This is a real treat!” Good thing… I made a recipe and a half.
For the record, I altered the recipe slightly, and the accompaniments were deliciously non-traditional.
1. I soaked/fermented the chickpeas, to neutralize the phytic acid, by pouring boiling water and 1 T. acidic component (i.e. lemon juice, whey or vinegar) over the chickpeas, soaking for 12 hours and repeating the same again.
2. The processed mixture was a bit wet. After adding some flour, I decided to almost puree 20-25% of the mix which, when stirred in, held everything together nicely.
3. Serving… Suffice it to say I wasn’t going to get away serving the tall one creme fraiche or tahini, and preferably not a pita or wrap. So, I fried the falafel in a mix of olive oil and toasted sesame oil, to include some of the tahini or hummus flavor. Then Trader Joe’s has this nice organic Power Greens mix – baby kale, spinach and chard – which I wilted in olive and a bit of toasted sesame oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and coriander. To pave the way I chose a hard roll, topped it with two falafel, lay strips of roasted red pepper over that and topped with the wilted greens, and gave a few sprinkles of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (for flavor and digestion). Roasted red pepper spread or Ajvar would be just as tasty as the strips. If serving to other people, I would do the same again except go for the pita or wrap style with roll as an alternate.
I was really “winging it” but the alternate is a keeper and I look forward to serving it that way again. And, the tall one is all in. :) Thank you for your falafel passion and for perfecting a recipe which inspired me to actually make them!!
I love your blog – your writing, photos and most of all, your spirit which shines through. It’s a treat for me, and (confession time) the only blog I read. Look forward to your Paris adventure! Wishing you an early Happy Birthday and bon voyage!
Your presentation sounds delicious! That power green mixture sounds great, I really miss TJ’s. Sometimes, TJ labels show up at Aldi here, but it’s never the stuff I’m dreaming of!
I feel honored that as a non-blog follower you take the time to read my blog. Thank you for that, and for letting me know :)
Thank you very much I have benefited from the information
I tried the falafel with Bulgur and it did not work well. Using the falafel tool to make like flat cakes and put on a tray to put it in the freezer, the cakes did not stay together, they spread… what did I do wrong?
It sounds like either you didn’t use enough flour or you didn’t pack the falafel densely enough. You have to add enough flour to the mixture so that it holds together and you have to pack the mixture densely so that it sticks together, otherwise the falafel will fall apart when you cook them or freeze them.