Recipe courtesy of JoAnn Cianciulli and Tyler Florence

Falafel

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 24 hr 50 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 24 hr
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 24 falafels
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Ingredients

2 cups dried chickpeas, picked through and rinsed

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

6 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves coarsely chopped

1 handful fresh cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for frying

8 warm pita bread, store bought or homemade recipe follows

Tahini Sauce, recipe follows

Shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, chopped cucumbers

Tahini Sauce:

1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)

1/2 cup plain yogurt or water

1 lemon, juiced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Pinch salt

Pinch paprika

Directions

  1. Put the dried chickpeas in a large bowl and add cool water to cover by 2 inches. Soak the beans in the refrigerator for at least 18 hours or up to 24; the chickpeas will swell to triple their original size. Drain and rinse thoroughly. 
  2. Put the soaked chickpeas in a food processor and pulse to coarsely grind, not until smooth but with no whole chickpeas remaining either. Add the baking powder, onion, garlic, spices, and herbs; process until the mixture is pureed; scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate while heating the oil, this should take about 15 minutes. 
  3. Pour 3-inches of the oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees F. 
  4. Roll the falafel mixture into ping-pong size balls. (Alternatively, use an ice cream scoop.) Carefully slip a few at a time into the hot oil, making sure they don't stick to the bottom. Fry until the chickpea fritters are a crusty dark brown on all sides, turning as needed, about 5 minutes per batch. Remove the falafels with a slotted spoon and drain on a platter lined with paper towels. 
  5. Open the pita bread halves to make pockets (don't split all the way) and put 4 fried falafels into each. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and layer with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Serve immediately.

Tahini Sauce:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, process on high speed to make a smooth and creamy sauce. Adjust seasoning, to taste, and serve with falafels or as a salad dressing. 
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