Pharaonic Falafel

Introduction: Pharaonic Falafel

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Why "Pharaonic" Falafel? Well I like tried and tested recipes.

Pharaonic literally means from the time of the pharaohs, you know like ancient pyramids, creepy mummies and other really, really old stuff. Anywhere from 3000 years ago, or 10000 years if your using movie details from Stargate... Falafel can be eaten by themselves, in a wrap, even as a burger if your form them a little bigger. They are vegan, yet satisfy carnivores with there high protein content. The hardest part of this "fast-food" is it takes a little time and patience, the chickpeas require soaking for at least 8 hours...

But I digress, I like tried and tested recipes. Falafel were made more or less the same way they are now, that is if your making them properly. Sure you can make a chickpea paste patty, which is what you get if you use canned chickpeas. The texture will never be the same. Proper Falafel are made by soaking chickpeas, fava beans or a combination for about 8 hours. They will swell and absorb a phenomenal amount of water in the process. Back in the day they would have ground up the chickpeas in a mortar and pestle, but I cheat and use a food processor. Then they are combined with onion, garlic, herbs and seasonings, formed into small rounds and fried. Using canned chickpeas or other legumes are like taking cooked ground hamburger and trying to form it back into burger. sure with enough binders you might get something burger-ish, but texturally its not even close. When ground hydrated chickpeas are fried, the absorbed water flash fries the chickpeas into fluffy crispy goodness. This process also works oddly enough by putting the same mixture into a waffle maker, perhaps not quite as crispy, but close. With canned its closer to a re-fried bean patty. The problem is when you try to grind canned chickpeas, you get mush as its already cooked. But enough canned food bashing, go try the original kinda-like fast food.

Step 1: Ingredients

Ingredients for falafel can vary, the key is to use dried, not canned legumes.

Typically the key ingredient used is chickpeas or fava beans, or a combination of the two. I have used other beans as well including a bean mixture used from my sons sensory table. What can I say, I had a craving and we just had 5 feet of snow dump on us. The mix included lentils, navy, pinto, black beans and even some split peas, worked like a charm. But I digress, see below for this particular recipe.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 green onions
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper & paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds - it's optional, but ups the crunchy factor
  • oil for frying (peanut is the best) or a waffle maker

Step 2: Soak

This step is simple, but requires patience...

  1. Give the chickpeas a quick rinse, discard any that look unappetizing.
  2. Place into a non reactive bowl and fill with water until you have 2-3 inches covering the chickpeas
  3. Allow to soak for at least 8 hours. Over night is better, but you should refrigerate it.

Step 3: Chop

  1. Drain the chickpeas and place into a food processor - NO, a blender won't work
  2. Roughly chop the onion, green onion, garlic, herbs and spices in with the chickpeas

Step 4: Process

  1. Pulse the mixture off and on for about 30 seconds. You want the mixture to be a bit grainy, your not trying to make humus.
  2. Pack it into a bowl to compress the mixture and allow the flavours to mingle for about 20 minutes.

Step 5: Prep

Ok, this isn't really much of a step, but its good way to pass 20 minutes. Falafel taste great au natural, but add some crunchy and savoury veg and the sum is greater

Good things to have on the side, or stuffed into a pita with the falafel can be found below

  • Tomatoes
  • Green peppers
  • Kalamata olives
  • Onions (red are best)
  • Cucumbers
  • Basically, the ingredients for greek salad
  • Tori Left - Pickled turnip

Step 6: Tatziki

Ok, chopping side vegetables takes all of 5 minutes, Tatziki is simple and comes together lickity split

  1. In a food processor, puree 1/3 of a cucumber, 3 large cloves of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon off salt.
  2. Process with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of full fat 11% plain yogurt.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in about 2 cups of the above noted yogurt, gently. Resist the urge to whip it in, your folding to preserve the texture of the greek yogurt.

Step 7: Cook - 2 Ways

I usually fry my Falafel, but from time to time I'll use a waffle maker. Mostly because I don't want to deal with the hassle of hot oil. The waffle maker doesn't make it shatter crispy like deep frying, but it stills turns out crispy.

Deep frying:

  1. Heat your oil. Now i'd love to tell you I heat my oil to 343 degrees exactly, but all I do is heat the oil on medium high heat. I check that it is the right temperature by lowering a dry wooden chopstick into the hot oil, when it reaches the right temperature the wood will bubble like an air-stone in a aquarium.
  2. With a soup spoon, scoop up some mixture and compress it into the spoon with your fingers or another spoon into a sort of almond shape. (You will think how is this crumble mixture not going to fall apart in the oil, but magically it does. The granular shards of the chickpeas swell and lock into each other once they hit the oil.)
  3. Slide the Falafel ball into the hot oil. I cook mine in a small sauce pan for about 2-3 minutes. They will float when done and will be golden brown in color. You can fry 4-5 at a time.
  4. Set on a rack or paper towel to drain.


  1. Heat up your waffle maker as per manufacturers instructions
  2. Brush your waffle maker with a little oil, once again peanut oil is best.
  3. Add about 1/3 of a cup of mixture and cook several minutes longer then you would for a regular waffle. remove once golden brown.

Step 8: Nom Nom Nom

Go eat, and watch out for evil mummies...

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    3 years ago

    Yum! I love falafel made this way :)