Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Total Time:
1 hr 25 min
Prep:
25 min
Inactive:
30 min
Cook:
30 min

Yield:
about 2 1/2 dozen
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups dried, peeled fava beans (skinless, split broad beans), soaked in cold water for 24 hours
  • 1/3 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water for 24 hours
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda or baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Tahini Sauce, for serving, recipe follows
  • Pita bread, for serving, optional
  • Tahini Sauce:
  • 1 cup tahini paste
  • 1/4 cup plus more, if necessary, lemon juice
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup water, as needed
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
Directions

Drain and rinse both the fava beans as well as the chickpeas. Combine both beans in the bowl of a food processor, along with the onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, cumin, baking soda, salt, ground coriander, and cayenne, and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a coarse paste is formed. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water, if needed to make the paste hold together - you will have to remove the lid of the processor and check this by pressing some of the mixture together between your fingers. Add a bit more water, if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to rest for about 30 minutes.

Preheat at least 3-inches of oil in a saucepan or a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

Scoop the fava-chick pea mixture into 1 1/2 to 2-tablespoon increments and, using your hands, shape into balls or patties about 1 1/2 to 2-inches in diameter. Gently lower the falafel balls into the hot oil (these are fragile - do not drop them or they will fall apart.) Fry the falafel in batches until crisp and brown, turning to promote even browning, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer to paper-lined plates to drain briefly before serving with the Tahini Sauce and pita bread, if using.

*Chef's Note: if you cannot find skinless fava beans, you will need to peel them. This is most easily accomplished after the beans have soaked for a short while - the skins will puff up away from the bean and can then be peeled off. While this is not terribly difficult to do, it is very time consuming and we recommend using skinless if you can source them.

Tahini Sauce:

Make the sauce by combining the tahini paste, lemon juice, and garlic in a bowl and stirring to combine. Add the water a little at a time as needed to form a smooth, creamy sauce approximately the thickness of heavy cream. (Note that the sauce might appear to separate for a bit before enough water has been added; just keep adding more water bit by bit and stirring until the sauce comes together.) Season to taste with salt and more lemon juice, if necessary. Transfer to a nonreactive container and refrigerate until ready to serve the falafel.

Yield: about 2 cups


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    True, Falafel is not Persian, but this recipe is tasty too.
    Even though my family devoured the falafels and I generally liked the recipe, I eat them in Manhattan all the time, so I'm more critical. That being said, the falafels were easy to make in a food processor. I changed the recipe a bit by adding 1/3 cup of both parsley and cilantro, an additional teaspoon of cumin, and omitted ground corinader since I didn't have any. I also opted for store-bought hummus, and stuffed it all into garlic pita bread. It was a nice treat, but was missing something that would have taken it to another level. I would add more salt and spices to give it a kick, as they were more bland than what I'm used to. I didn't have any trouble with the balls falling apart. I let them rest after processing for about 15 minutes, and then rolled them into 1-inch balls dropped into 350F oil, and they were done rather quickly. Give this recipe a try, and tweak it how you like, but still good.
    Hi,can anybody let me know why my tahni sauce was bitter..when i followed the recipe by Mr.Emeril.i dont know what i did is wrong.
    Falafel is originally Egyptian because Egyptians traditionally grew fava beans (which are not the kind shown in the show). In Lebanon and Syria they substitute beans with chick peas. One thing not mentioned in the show is that depending on where you are (Egypt Sudan Lebanon etc) you might want to add some left over bread. This gives falafel the needed binder to stay in tact upon frying. Also typically in egypt one would use dried split fava beans in the recipe not fresh ones. If fresh ones are used one has to peal them off.
     

     
    There are many variations on Falafel even in any one country. In Egypt for example Falafel from Alexandria are famous for their spicy fillings (normally includes halapino peppers and other really hot spices). Others use pastrami, Crumbly Parmesan cheese etc. In cairo they sprinkle sesame seed on the falafel. Typically it i seaten with a green salad and tahini sauce.
     

     
    Tahini is supposed to harden when an acid is added. The answer to that is not buy adding more acid (as was done in the show). Rather it is typical to use warm water on the paste until the desired consistency is reached. Moreover Cummin, allspice and garlic are the main spices in a tahini sauce.
     

     
    That being said, it was a good show and reminded me of many dishes that typically one would miss being away from home.
    The uncooked falafel was delicious, but I never got to eat mine fried because they melted into the oil! I must have done something wrong. Perhaps the chickpeas were too wet.
    Falafel and tahini is not persian. Its like saying raviolli is from Russia. Falafel originated in Egypt, where it was first made with fava beans as the base. As the dish migrated northwards to lebanon,Syria, jordan and Palestine, chickpeas were introduced instead. Falafel was consumed by Arabs of all religious denominations, including Arab Jews in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
    great recipe, but falafel is not Persian (nor is tahini).
    I only made the sauce from this recipe. It was very good but a little to sweet so I doubled the recipe without doubling the honey and it was perfect.
    I only made the falafel balls and they were great. The best ever that I have made at home! Will use this in the future. I added more salt than recommended.
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