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Milk Street Bowtie Falafel

Falafel

Makes about 25 Falafel

2 hours 50 minutes active, plus soaking

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Across Amman, Jordan, we tasted numerous versions of falafel and concluded that perfection entails a combination of three things: a crisp, beautifully burnished crust without any greasiness; an interior that has a light and tender texture; and bold but well-balanced seasonings that complement the earthiness of the chickpeas. To develop our own recipe, we borrowed techniques from home cooks as well as professionals who taught us their methods and formulas, but we also came up with a few tricks of our own. Namely, we add both salt and baking soda to the water for soaking the dried chickpeas to help tenderize both the interiors and exteriors of the legumes. For varied texture in the processed chickpea mixture, we finely grind half in the food processor before tossing in the remainder and pulsing only until the second addition is finely nubby. This results in fried falafel that hold together but have crisp, lacy exteriors. Additional baking soda plus baking powder provides leavening, yielding falafel that are practically airy. Parsley and cilantro bring fresh herbal flavor, and baharat, an all-purpose Middle Eastern seasoning blend, lends complex spiciness. Baharat can be purchased at larger supermarkets, or use our recipe to make your own. To form the falafel and drop them into the oil, you will need a 1¾-inch (2-tablespoon) spring-loaded ice cream/dough scoop. Our favorite way to eat falafel is to stuff them into fresh pita bread along with slices of ripe tomato, cucumber and onion, then drizzle on lemony tahini sauce.

Makes about 25

Falafel

Tip

Don’t try to shortcut the soaking time for the chickpeas. They require at least 12 hours at room temperature to soften properly. After processing the chickpeas with the other ingredients, be sure to chill the mixture for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours; this helps ensure the falafel hold together during frying. When adding portions of the mixture into the hot oil for frying, hold the scoop just above the surface of the oil to avoid splashing. Finally, don’t overcrowd the pot during frying, which will result in greasy falafel.

2 hours

50 minutes active, plus soaking

12 ounces dried chickpeas
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon baharat (see headnote)
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems roughly chopped (about 1¼ cups)
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems roughly chopped (about 1¼ cups)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6-8 cups grapeseed or other neutral oil
Tahini-yogurt sauce
Warm pita bread, to serve
Thin tomato wedges, to serve
Ingredients
  • 12

    ounces dried chickpeas

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    teaspoons baking soda, divided

  • 2

    teaspoons baking powder

  • 1

    tablespoon baharat (see headnote)

  • 1

    bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems roughly chopped (about 1¼ cups)

  • 1

    bunch cilantro, leaves and stems roughly chopped (about 1¼ cups)

  • 2

    tablespoons lemon juice

  • 6-8

    cups grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • Warm pita bread, to serve

  • Thin tomato wedges, to serve

Baharat Chickpea

Recipe

Baharat

Directions

Falafel

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Reviews
John H.
October 5, 2022
Curious about freezing / batching for future use?
Was wondering if anyone had any experience freezing these to have on hand as needed - would love to batch these out for an easy(ish) lunch instead of frying up a whole recipe all at once, or better yet, making a double recipe and freezing.
Graham W.
September 26, 2022
Delicious! Also works well frozen in the air fryer.
I made these and they were delicious. I'm making them again tonight because the family asked for them. I had a lot left over last time so I scooped them into balls and then froze the balls. They turned out great. Then I had the idea to air fry them, and not knowing what to do I dunked them in canola oil, still frozen, and then let them drip dry. Then I air fried them and they were just lovely - almost if not the same as deep frying without all the terrifying (to me) hot oil and mess. This is a great recipe. Thank you very much for breaking it down for me and taking apart some of the mysteries of falafel.
Debbie A.
August 22, 2022
Wonderful
Even though the recipe was not mixed correctly, I was able to hack it by adding a little extra baking soda just before frying, it was really wonderful.
Sherri H.
August 3, 2022
Perfect
I didn't read the recipe fully, so I ended up refrigerating the dough for 8 hours instead of the 3 hours in the recipe. The balls held together well, so maybe the longer refrigeration helped. We loved this recipe: the falafel wasn't dry and the tahini sauce worked well to complement the flavors.
Robert I.
August 3, 2022
Eureka!
I have searching in vain for a recipe that has all the specifics on how to successfully make falafel until now! This recipe has all the tips and tricks needed to make the best falafel I've ever made/had. I now feel like I can make this regularly without wondering if I'll end up with falafel bits floating in the oil. Thank you!!!