Middle Eastern RecipesAuthentic Falafel Recipe (3 Methods)by Kitty Ramasamyupdated on May 11, 2022May 27, 2021 by Kitty Ramasamy This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Home in the Middle East, falafel has become an absolute crowd pleaser across the globe. Authentic falafel are made of just a few simple ingredients. The truth is that it’s much easier to make than you’d probably think! Once you know the secret behind the best falafel, you’ll surely never stop making them. Learn how to make authentic Middle Eastern falafel with this step-by-step falafel recipe. What is Falafel? Falafel is a hugely popular snack originating in the Middle East. They are made of chickpeas, lots of fresh herbs and a few seasonings. They are most commonly shaped as balls and deep-fried. Traditionally, falafel are part of any good Middle Eastern breakfast platter, mostly in combination with hummus, fresh vegetables, other warm and cold mezze and of course pita bread. Additionally, they make a great snack on-the-go, be it in a delicious falafel sandwich or as part of a salad. Falafel Ingredients Authentic falafel only need a few simple ingredients. They are naturally vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. There are some recipes out there that suggest adding flour but I assure you that the best falafel recipe doesn’t need any flour to become so crispy and delicious! You’ll need the following ingredients for this falafel recipe. Dried Chickpeas: I cannot repeat this enough: for the best falafel recipe you have to use dried chickpeas! These need to be soaked overnight (at least for 12 hours, ideally for 20-24 hours). After soaking the chickpeas, you can directly use them (no need to cook them). Please don’t use canned chickpeas. The latest are precooked and too soft. The falafel balls won’t hold together (unless you use flour, which spoils the taste) and won’t be crispy.Fresh Cilantro and Parsley: Ideally, you’ll use a combination of fresh cilantro and fresh parsley. Although they look similar, they taste differently and will give your falafel a great flavour. However, if you don’t like cilantro, just double the amount of parsley instead. Garlic: Use garlic cloves instead of powdered garlic. Simply peel, cut off the ends and add to the food processor. If you follow the quantities mentioned in this recipe, your falafel will have a subtle garlic taste. You can add more or less garlic according to your likings. Ground Cumin and Coriander: Ground cumin and ground coriander are hugely popular spices in Middle Eastern cuisine. Make sure to use ground cumin instead of cumin seeds to get the full flavour. You can find both spices online as well as in most Middle Eastern grocery stores.Baking Soda: The baking soda will give the falafel mixture a final touch to their irresistible tender and slightly fluffy texture. Baking soda is added to the mixture (mixture of crumbled chickpeas and herbs), together with the ground coriander and cumin. Salt: Most falafel recipes contain a pinch of salt. Don’t worry, the amount of salt in this recipe is quite low. However, if you’ve cut salt from your diet, you can omit the salt. Oil for Frying: Falafel are traditionally fried in vegetable oil. The most popular oil is sunflower oil. If you’re looking for a low-calorie recipe, you can also airfry or bake them instead. Carry on reading to learn more about how to make falafel. Note: The exact quantities (according to the amount of servings) can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe. 3 Methods to Make Falafel There are multiple ways of making falafel. Firstly, the traditional method suggests deep-frying in oil (in a pan, pot or fryer). Additionally, you can also airfry them or bake them in the oven. 1# Method: Deep-Fry Deep frying will undoubtedly make the best falafel, ultra crispy on the outside and irresistibly tender on the inside. You can shape the falafel into balls when following this method as they will easily cook all the way through. To reduce the calories from the oil, transfer onto a double layer of kitchen paper after frying (the kitchen paper will absorb any excess oil). 2# Method: Air-Fry Air fryers are a (relatively) new method of making falafel (our grandma’s didn’t have one). When air frying, it’s best to shape them into flat patties, not balls. Spray the bottom of the airfryer with olive oil (to avoid sticking). Afterwards, place the patties into the airfryer, and spray with a thin layer of olive oil as well. Air fryer falafel will be lower in calories compared to frying in oil. Actually, air fried falafel is my second preferred option (sorry, nothing beats the authentic falafel). Air fried falafel have a better texture than oven-baked falafel. 3# Method: Oven-Bake If you’d like a low-calorie recipe and don’t have an airfryer, you can also bake them in the oven. Oven-baked falafel are best when shaped into flat patties (not balls). Place on a tray covered with baking paper and spray with a thin layer of olive oil. Bake at 190 °C (375 °F) for 15 minutes, flip around and bake for another 15 minutes. The falafel will be golden brown on both sides and slightly crispy when baking in the oven. Step-by-Step Falafel Recipe 1. Soak the chickpeas While hummus and some other Arabic chickpea dishes work well with canned chickpeas, falafel require dried chickpeas. Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl and add at least triple the quantity in cold water. Soak overnight (at least 12 hours, better 20-24 hours). 2. Drain and rinse The chickpeas will double in size by the next day. Drain them in a colander and rinse well. Add to the blender. Don’t boil the chickpeas! Just add them to the blender after soaking and draining. 3. Peel a garlic clove Peel a garlic clove, cut off the ends, chop and add to the blender. 4. Prepare cilantro and parsley Fresh cilantro and parsley are key ingredients to flavorful falafel. They taste best when you use only the leaves, not the long stems. Cut the stems off and add only the leaves to the blender along with the chickpeas and garlic. 5. Blend Blend all ingredients for about 4-5 minutes. Since the chickpeas weren’t boiled, blending them won’t result in a uniform, creamy purée but rather a blended mix with small bits of chickpeas throughout. If you have a small blender, it’s best to blend in multiple batches (always include chickpeas with some cilantro/parsley). Make sure that all the ingredients are finely blended (without large chunks of chickpeas or cilantro/parsley left). 6. Add spices Transfer the chickpeas mixture into a mixing bowl. Add ground cumin, ground coriander, salt and baking soda and stir well (using your hands or a spoon). Cover the mixture and refrigerate for about 1 hour. 7. Shape the falafel Now starts the fun part, making the falafels! The most common method is to shape them into round patties or circular balls. If you are making them in a pan, the best shape is round patties as this requires less oil compared to balls. For each patty, use about 1 tablespoon of the mixture. Use a falafel scooper or your hands to form balls. 8. Fry Heat oil in a deep fryer or a frying pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. 9. Serve Remove the falafels from the oil and transfer onto a serving plate. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley leaves. Serve with fresh pita bread, hummus or as part of a colorful salad. Falafel (Middle Eastern) Kitty Ramasamy An easy-to-follow Middle Eastern falafel recipe. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, homemade falafel are an absolute delight! No ratings yet Print Recipe Pin Recipe Prep Time 30 minsCook Time 5 minsResting Time 20 hrsTotal Time 20 hrs 35 mins Course Breakfast, Main CourseCuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern Servings 4Calories 192 kcal Ingredients 1x2x3x200 g dried chickpeas0.5 bunch cilantro0.5 bunch parsley flat2 garlic cloves2 tsp ground cumin1 tsp ground coriander1 tsp baking soda0.5 tsp saltOil for frying Instructions Soak the chickpeas in water (1:3) for at least 12 hours, better for 20-24 hours.Drain the soaked chickpeas in a colander and rinse with cold water.Peel a garlic clove. Roughly chop. Add to the blender.Roughly chop fresh cilantro and parsley and add to the blender. Dispose of the stems.Blend for about 4-5 minutes until all the ingredients are finely blended.Transfer into a mixing bowl. Add cumin, coriander powder, salt and baking soda. Mix well with your hands. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.Take about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and shape into a round ball.Heat oil in a pan. Add the falafel and fry for about 5 minutes until golden brown.Remove from the oil. Serve with fresh pita bread, hummus or as part of a colorful salad. Notes Middle Eastern falafel are traditionally fried in oil. That’s what makes them so crunchy and tasty. Nevertheless, you can also prepare falafel in the oven or in the airfryer. Check out my tips above for information on oven-baked falafel in this article. The nutritional values are rough indications. They can vary according to the exact weight, type and brand of your ingredients. NutritionCalories: 192kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 10gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 583mgPotassium: 512mgFiber: 9gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 714IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 4mg Keyword Falafel, Falafel Recipe, Mezze Did you make this recipe?Let me know how it was by leaving a comment below. Falafel FAQ Below you’ll find the answers to the most commonly asked questions on falafel, from fun facts to preparation tips and tricks. Where do falafel originate from? Falafel originated in the Middle East, most likely in Egypt. It’s said that the history of falafel dates back to Pharaonic Egypt. Today, falafel is a hugely popular food across the world. Why is falafel green inside? Authentic falafel are made of a blend of chickpeas and fresh herbs (coriander and parsley) which are blended together. For this reason, good falafel are slightly green inside. Why do falafel balls fall apart when frying? Falafel falling apart is one of the most frequent problems when making falafel. This is very likely to happen when using canned chickpeas, and not dried ones (you’ll find more information on dried chickpeas in this recipe). Another reason is that you didn’t allow the mixture enough time prior to use. After blending the ingredients, cool the falafel mixture in the fridge for about 1 hour. Is falafel healthy? Thanks to the main ingredient, chickpeas, falafel are very healthy. They are naturally high in protein and low in carbs. You’ll get extra healthy falafel (low fat) when airfrying or oven-baking them. Which oil for falafel? Falafel can be fried in vegetable oil. The most common oil is sunflower oil. It’s also possible to use olive oil, canola oil or corn oil, for instance. How to make falafel? There are multiple ways of making falafel. They are traditionally deep-fried in oil (in a pan, pot or fryer). Additionally, you can also airfry them or bake them in the oven. When is falafel day? Did you know that there is an international falafel day to celebrate the world’s best chickpea dish? Falafel day is celebrated on June 12th each year. Any questions on my falafel recipe? Let me know in the comments below. I’m more than happy to help you create the perfect Middle Eastern falafel.