So, I decided to give it a try again, this time with the help of internet research (yeah, the last time I tried was probably 10 years ago, pre-internet).
So, prepared with what seemed to be an authentic recipe, I gave it a try, and was I ever happy!! It was a beautiful sight to behold!
See for yourself!
Ain't she purty?
So, I used a recipe from a Syrian website. When I had tried to make falafel before, I used cooked chickpeas and mashed them, adding spices and such. Well, this is a recipe for disaster. The cooked chickpea mass just falls apart when it touches the hot oil. For a perfect falafel mixture, the key is to only soak the chickpeas. No need for cooked ones in this recipe! A food processor is really essential for this recipe. The website says you can also use a meat grinder. I don't think a blender would be able to do the job very well, though.
For the Falafel Mix:
*500 mL (2 cups) dried chick peas (absolutely not canned)
*1 medium onion quartered
*2-3 cloves garlic
*2-3 slices stale bread
*50 mL (1/4 cup) parsley (I also added the same amount of cilantro)
*110 mL (2 tsp) salt
*3 mL (3/4 tsp) black pepper
*10 mL (2 tsp) cumin
*10 mL (2 tsp) oregano
*10 mL (2 tsp) ground coriander
*5 mL (1 tsp) red hot pepper flakes
*20 mL (4 tsp) flour (I used whole wheat)
*10 mL (2 tsp) baking powder
*50 mL (1/4 cup) water
Pick out foreign matter from between the peas. Place in a large bowl, cover generously with water and soak overnight.
Drain peas. Add onion, garlic, bread, parsley, and red sweet pepper. Run through the fine blade of a meat grinder. (You may process in food processor until mealy.) Add spices, flour, 10 mL (2 tsp) baking powder and water. Mix well. It should look like this:
For Forming the Balls:
*5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
*125 mL (1/2 cup) water
*vegetable oil for deep frying
In a small dish mix the remaining baking powder and water. Use it to moisten the palm of your hands and form balls of the chick peas mixture the size of walnuts, then flatten a bit. It should look like this:
Deep fry in oil at medium high heat until golden brown. Serve piping hot.
Arrange in halved loaves of pita (Arabic bread), topped with salad vegetables and tahina sauce. Some people love it topped with sauerkraut, wedges of tomato and tahina sauce. Hot pepper may also be sprinkled on top.
I made a sauce to accompany the falafel. I chose to do a yogurt based cucumber-tahini sauce. You can also eat it with plain tahini, or hummus. We sprinkled a little Sumac on it also.
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup grated cucumber
1 clove minced garlic
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
If you like it richer, more like a whole milk yogurt, add a little cream, or substitute sour cream for all or part of the yogurt.
Mix all ingredients and allow to sit for an hour for flavors to blend.