Introduction: Falafel "Hackers' Delight"

About: I like to tinker. I'm a co-founder and active participant of my local hackerspace: Hack42 in Arnhem, the Netherlands. You can also find me on under the name Moem.

This is a pretty traditional falafel recipe, as made and appreciated in our local hackerspace, Hack42. It feeds 10 hungry hackers when served as a meal. It makes enough falafel for 30 to 35 pita sandwiches.

Falafel is a popular snack and main dish from the Middle East. It's eaten in many countries nowadays, as an increasingly common and well-loved part of international streetfood cuisine. It's a tasty and savoury vegetarian, and even vegan, snack that's nutritious and filling. Since it combines a legume (chick peas) with a grain (wheat) it contains valuable proteins.

The barebones base of a falafel sandwich consists of the falafel itself and the pita bread. What then truly makes it great are the greens, the trimmings and the sauces. They will all be discussed in this Instructable.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

Note: If you do not like or do not react well to cilantro, you might as well stop reading here.

For the falafel itself:

  • 1 kilo dried chick peas
  • Some chick pea flour, in case of wetness
  • 1 pack of baking powder
  • Fresh cilantro (a handful)
  • Fresh parsley (same)
  • Ground cilantro
  • Ground cumin
  • Optional: cilantro seeds, coarsely ground in a mortar
  • Garlic (fresh or powdered)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for deep frying


  • Pita bread (30 to 40 depending on size)

Greens, trimmings and sauces will be listed in their own respective steps.

Step 2: Before We Start:

The previous night:
  • The chick peas need to be soaked in water for at least 10 hours. So be sure to buy them ahead of time and put them in water the night before you intend to make your falafel.
They will absorb enough water to double in volume.

Just before beginning:
  • Preheat your oven for the pita bread (see packaging).
  • Fire up your deep fryer. 180 C is a good temperature.
  • Find a hungry friend or two and set them to work on step 5, 6 and 7.
And remember...

The kitchen can be a dangerous place. Use safety gear as needed.

Step 3: Here We Go

Make your dough. Start by grinding or mashing your soaked chick peas. I used a machine, as you can see.
They do not need to get all smooth and homogenous; it's fine, and even preferrable, if they retain some graininess for structure and bite. It's okay of some of them remain whole, too.

Now transfer the dough into a large bowl or pot so you can add the other ingredients.

It's too small. Transfer it to a bigger one.

Now add: at least a spoonful of ground cumin and cilantro.
Then: baking powder, salt, pepper and garlic (crushed or powdered). No, I'm not going to give you precise amounts. Wing it, young grasshopper.

Chop up your parsley and cilantro leaves, and add those, too. Mix it all. Kneading may be the easiest way. Add a spot of water if you think you need it, but be careful, as it's easy to overdo it.

Step 4: Things Get Hot

Now would be a good time to put some pitas in your oven. I'm just saying'.

Your dough is done, your deep fryer is at the right temperature?
Make sure you have a bowl of water handy to rinse your hands in, between kneading and baking. You'll be doing it often.

Form a dough ball the size of a walnut, but sligtly flattened. Yes, with your hands, silly. Try to make it firm.
Gently lower it into the oil.
  • Does it fall apart? Your dough may be too wet. Add some chick pea flour.
If it stays in one piece, great. Fry it until golden brown or 4 - 5 minutes, take it out, let it cool off a little and taste it.
  • Does it need more flavourings? This is the time to add them.
If it tastes good, keep going! Keep those golden nuggets coming and watch your friends stuff three of them into a roasted pita to make a sandwich, then proceed to stuff themselves.

But wait! Something's missing... yes, in fact three things are missing: the ever-important extras. Greens, Trimmings and Sauces.

Step 5: Greens

Falafel by itself is just half of the story. Three balls of falafel stuffed into a pita does not a decent falafel sandwich make. There needs to be some of the fresh, healthy green stuff in there, too.

The bare minimum is
  • lettuce. Iceberg works well. Just wash, chop and serve.
Other options include:
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • onions
  • bell peppers

Step 6: Trimmings

Suggested trimmings include:
  • olives, black and green, no pits
  • hot pickled peppers
  • pickled vegetables
  • cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Put them in small bowls and set them on the table or other suitable surface.

Step 7: Sauces

Suggested sauces include:
  • garlic (the bare minimum)
  • chili
  • sweet chili
  • tahina (sesame paste)
  • sambal (Indonesian style chili sauce)
  • yogurt-based mint sauce

Step 8: The Final Step:

Enjoy! And since you did all the cooking, let your friends deal with the dishes.

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