Whenever I'm about to post a recipe that has a very specific name that comes with connotations or cultural implications, I do a good amount of research beforehand to make sure that I don't inadvertently offend anyone or post an inauthentic recipe. So, I have looked through a lot of recipes for falafel recently. Falafel seems to be one of those rare recipes that doesn't have any hard-and-fast requirements. (If you know otherwise, please correct me!)
Normally, falafel is made with ground chickpeas, but I like a little bit of texture, so I decided to hand-mash my chickpeas. I also added some spinach, which was a great flavor and texture contrast to the chickpeas. I didn't make sandwiches with mine, but you certainly could.
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup grated onion
1-2 tablespoons grated garlic
1 can chickpeas
1/2-1 cup thawed frozen spinach, squeezed dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons flour
Vegetable Oil (for frying)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1. Toast the fennel, coriander, and sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant.
2. Combine the toasted seeds, pepper, salt and cumin in a mortar and pestle and grind until fine and well-mixed.
3. In a large bowl, combine the spice mix, onion, garlic, chickpeas, spinach, flour, and olive oil and mash with a fork until well-mixed. The mixture should be relatively dry and able to hold its shape fairly well.
4. Divide the mixture into about six portions. I used a #20 cookie scoop, and it worked perfectly.
5. Using your hands, shape the portions into patties.
6. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/4-1/2 inch of vegetable or canola oil until the surface ripples.
7. Coat the patties lightly with the breadcrumbs. If you like, you can season the breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, and cumin.
8. Carefully place the falafel in the oil. Fry for 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.
9. Serve and enjoy! I served mine alongside some simple steamed rice.
Currently, I'm reading... The Constant Gardener, by John Le Carre.