Baharat translates "spices" in Arabic. It provides a delicious aromatic flavor to the bright green, herby falafel.
(Makes about 12 balls)
3/4 cup dried chickpeas (about 6 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2-1/2 teaspoons baharat (recipe below)
1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped, about 3/4 cup (use leaves and only tender stems)
1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped, about 3/4 cup (use leaves and only tender stems)
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 - 4 cups neutral oil or vegetable oil
1. In a large bowl stir the chickpeas with the water. Let soak at room temperature overnight (at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours).
2. When ready to use, drain the chickpeas and rinse them then drain again.
3. In a blender or food processor combine about half the chickpeas (about 1 cup), salt, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, the baking powder and the baharat.
4. Process the mixture, scraping the container as needed until the mixture is chopped well. Add 1/3 cup of water and process again until the mixture is smooth (about 2 minutes).
5. Add the remaining chickpeas, parsley, cilantro and garlic. Pulse and scrape the container as needed until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Place the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
6. When ready to fry, add oil into a pot or deep skillet and heat over medium high heat. Oil should be about 1-1/2 inches deep. The temperature should be about 325 degrees on a cooking thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, oil is ready when it starts to move on its own like waves along the bottom of the pot. There should not be any bubbles forming, however. If bubbles have started to form the oil is too hot. In this case, remove from the heat for a few minutes to allow it to cool down.
7. When the oil is ready, take chickpea mixture out of the refrigerator and stir in the lemon juice and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into the chickpea mixture. Stir well.
8. Use a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop to scoop out the chickpea mixture. The mixture will be fairly soft. If using a tablespoon, you may need to use your hands to round out the mixture into a ball shape. Carefully hold the spoon or scoop right above the oil to prevent it from splashing and carefully ease the chickpea mixture into the oil. As quickly as possible, add about 6 balls to the pot. Fry, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes or until the falafel are deep golden brown.
9. Remove the cooked falafel and place them onto layers of paper towel or a cooking towel to drain. Cook remaining falafel, stirring remaining mixture before scooping, if any of the liquid has started to separate from the mixture.
10. Serve with warm pita bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, additional cilantro and parsley and sauce of choice, if desired. See recipe below for my easy lemon dill sauce.
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Blend all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
Easy Lemon Dill Sauce
1/2 cup plant milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/8 block of firm or extra firm tofu (from a 14 ounce package)
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder to taste
Stir vinegar into plant milk and let sit for 10 minutes to form vegan buttermilk. Add it and remaining ingredients EXCEPT dill to small mixer and blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired then stir in chopped dill. Refrigerate any unused portion.