Thursday, August 23, 2012

Falafel "Burgers"

        I love falafel.  I grew up in New York where there were pizza shops that would make traditional Middle Eastern falafel sandwiches.  They were definitely one of my favorite things to eat.

       Now I haven't lived in New York for a really long time, so every time I would come across a place that served falafel, I would always take the leap and order it, only to be disappointed.  They would be all green on the inside and mushy.  They tasted like I don't know what, but they definitely were not the falafel that I knew.  The falafel that I knew tasted so good, that you ignored you were eating a dish made out of chick peas(garbanzo beans).  Super crunchy on the outside and definitely not a mushy goop in your mouth.

     I came across a recipe for falafel at Home Cooking in Montana.  I decided that it was time after all these years, and its been many, to try and create the falafel of my childhood.

    Normally, falafel are round balls.  I have decided to make them burger shaped.  This shape saves on oil amounts.  You do need to fry them.  There is no way you can make a good falafel unless you fry them.  If you're going to make something, make it right.  Since I normally do not fry that much, a fried food once in a while is perfectly fine.  I have no guilt.  Besides, chick peas are healthy.  They contain iron, fiber, and loads of potassium.
     Here is my recipe for falafel.
     My recipe calls for 1 lb of chick peas(garbanzo beans).  If you have a smaller food processor you may want to halve the recipe, or make it in 2 batches.

  1. 1 package 16oz of dried chick peas.  
  2. 2 onions chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves
  4. 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
  5.  1 tsp cumin
  6. 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  7. 2 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1 Tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice
  9. 2 tsp baking powder
  10. 5 - 6 Tbl flour 
This makes about 18 patties.

First, since you are using dry chick peas they need to soak overnight.  You will not get the right texture if you use canned.  It sounds like an extra hassle but it's not.  Just get a pot or large bowl, place your package of chick peas in it and cover with 8 cups of cold water.  Then go to bed.  When you wake up those chick peas will have expanded so that the they are almost past the level of the water.

Next morning or at least 8 hours later, get your processor out.  Place your onions, parsley, and garlic and pulse the mixture is minced really well.

Then add your spices, lemon juice, and chick peas to the processor.  Process this until the mixture is smooth.

Then add your baking powder and flour.  Start with 4 Tbl of flour.  Process again.
 Check on the consistency of the mixture.  You want the mixture to be able to hold up to being rolled.  If it can't be rolled in a ball easily and not stick to your hand, add another tablespoon of flour.  5 Tbl worked for me.

Take your falafel mixture, cover it and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

When you are ready to cook them, place your oil(I use canola), in your frying pan on medium heat.  You can check the temperature of the oil by taking a small amount of the mixture and place it in the oil.  If it sizzles, the oil is ready.  Now make small patties with them, about the size of your palm and place in the oil.  When the bottom turns golden brown, carefully flip them over.

I served them up my placing them on a roll.  You can always use pita bread, but since I was going for "burgers",  I used a bun.  I topped them with tahina sauce, which you can find in the kosher section of your supermarket.  It's made from sesame seeds and is a traditional topping for falafel.  Also top with pickles, and tomatoes.

       Now all I can say about this dish is that I can't say enough.  These were the falafel of my childhood,  just a different shape.  They were sooooo good.  Finally, after all these years. 

       What's also great about these are that you can freeze the left- overs and just reheat them in your oven or toaster oven.  So any time you want, you can have a quick sandwich.  Most people have rolls of some sort handy in the house, not so much pita bread.  So having them burger shaped makes them convenient to put together as a sandwich.

      This is a great vegetarian dish that I hope you will try.


  1. Hi Siggy, Your falafel burgers look absolutely delicious!! Love the idea of making them in patty form. I am so glad you finally tried the falafel and that you enjoyed them... as you remembered from your childhood:)

    I'm with you on frying the falafel. A must. There are other certain recipes that can be baked , but the falafel, to me, needs to be fried:).

    You've made me want to make a batch myself:).

    Thanks for sharing your recipe... you made it look so simple, and less time consuming by making them into burgers. By the way, your pita bread looks awesome!

    Have a great day!

    1. Thanks Ellie, I hope you do make a batch. So yummy! Yes, the pita bread was awesome, a definite must do! Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.