Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Falafels are balls or patties made from ground chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans). Falafels are served in some sort of flat bread--pita bread is popular, but lavash bread can also be used. Falafel balls are topped with greens, vegetables, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. They originated in Egypt and is often considered the national dish of Israel. These fritters are now found all over the world and are a popular street food.

First things first: make the flatbread.

Flat Bread
(You can call this pita bread, but I think "flat bread" is WAY cooler).
  • 1 1/8 cup warm water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the water, sugar, oil, and yeast. Proof the yeast in this mixture for 5 minutes, until it is frothy. 
  2. Add in the flour and salt. Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
  3. Oil the bowl and cover the dough with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. After rising, divide the dough into balls (there should be 8 balls). Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Stretch each ball into a flat disk. Let those rise for another 20-30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Set a cookie sheet into the oven so it gets hot.
  6. Bake 2 disks at a time on your heated cookie sheet. Bake these for about 5 minutes, flipping them at about 2 1/2 minutes. They should be slightly golden and should puff up.
  7. Immediately place the bread into a bag to keep it soft.

After kneading.
After rising for 1 1/2 hours.
Form into rolls. Let rise again for 30 minutes.
Stretch into disks.
Bake for 5-6 minutes on a hot cookie sheet inside the oven.

Now time for all the fixin's.
Baba Ghanoush
Baba ghanoush is an Arab dish of eggplant mashed and mixed with seasonings. The eggplant is roasted (baked) before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste. It is often eaten at a dip. It is popular in Egypt, and for this reason I decided to make it for my falafel wraps. I decided to make my baba ghanoush more like a roasted eggplant hummus, and oh my heavens, it was divine.
  • One eggplant
  • 2 cups chickpeas, canned or cooked (and drained)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 dried red chili
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika and cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup (I know this is a weird ingredient to add, but I promise that it is vital to the flavor of this baba ghanoush)
  1. Roast the eggplant in the oven at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. 
  2. Place in a plastic bag and let sweat for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, puree the chickpeas with the tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil. Mix until smooth.
  4. Peel the skin from the eggplant. Scoop out the pulp AKA guts :)
  5. Once the chickpea mixture is smooth, mix in the eggplant pulp. 
  6. Add in the dried red chili. Puree in the cilantro and parsley. Mix in the spices. At last, add in the ketchup.
  7. Adjust seasonings to taste.
 Garlic. Very good for you plus. Eat it. Everyday.
 Oh how I love garlic.
Roasted eggplant.
Let sweat in a bag for about 30 minutes.
Peel off the skin and scoop out the guts. Well it looks like guts anyway.
Mix into the Baba Ghanoush.

Falafel Vinaigrette
This stuff is really yummy. Use as a drizzle for your falafel wraps.
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • a couple leaves of fresh mint (or a pinch of dried mint)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • a touch of fresh parsley and cilantro
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • salt and pepper
  • ground cumin and coriander
  1. Puree all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Okay, now comes the fun part!

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat, soaked for 24 hours
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours (or canned and drained)
  • 1/4 green onions, pureed
  • 2 cloves garlic, pureed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch chili powder (or cayanne)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  1. In a food processer, chop the chickpeas until they reach the consistency of bread crumbs. This step is vital. Your chickpeas should not be creamy or it will make for mushy falafel balls. Make sure they are not pureed.
  2. Place minced chickpeas into a large bowl. 
  3. In the food processor, puree the green onions with the garlic. Add to the chickpea mixture.
  4. Process the soaked bulgur wheat in the food processor until pasty and sticky. You want your bulgur wheat to be pureed and smooth. This acts as the glue that will hold your falafels together.
  5. Place pasty bulgur wheat into chickpea mixture. Stir all of these things together. Mix in the cilantro, parsley, and spices. 
  6. Your falafel mixture should be slighty sticky, but not too sticky. You should be able to form balls out of your mixture. 
  7. Stir in the baking powder and let mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. The baking powder will fluff up your falafel mixture.
  8. At this point, you should test your falafel texture by frying some balls in hot oil. If you like the texture, leave it be. If you want it less mushy, add in a handful of breadcrumbs or cornmeal (even quick oats worked for me). 
  9. You can let your falafel mixture rest in the fridge overnight for a more consistent texture.
  10. When it is time to eat, form balls out of your falafel mixture and fry in a small pot filled with hot oil. I found that when my stovetop was set to medium to medium-low is when the falafels fried the best. (Note that they should sizzle right as you place them in the oil.)
  11. Place a few falafel balls in the hot oil and fry until golden brown to a rich brown color. Retrieve them from the pot with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.
*To serve your falafel wraps: Spread some baba ghanoush on a piece of flat bread. Fill your wrap with 3-4 fried falafel balls, some fried potatoes, fried eggplant, chopped tomatoes, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, caramelized onions, fresh onions, spring mix, etc. Drizzle with the falafel vinaigrette. Eat and feel like you've died and gone to Heaven.

Making the falafels.
Stir it all together
Garnishes and Stuffings: fried potatoes, fried eggplant, caramelized onions, tomatoes, raw onions, cilantro, parsley, baba ghanoush, falafel vinaigrette.
My friend, Tennyson, frying up some falafels.
Raw falafels. Vegetarian/Vegan and healthy.
Fried falafels. Not as healthy, but oh so delicious.
Falafel party!
Base layers
Fold like a taco.


  1. Take the onions off and I'm sold

    1. But onions are so good! Haha, next time I will have to try them without the onions and see how they fare.

  2. Dad and I ate these on a tour through Israel. I loved them. We also had something very similar: Shuarma.

    1. How interesting! I bet they tasted delicious.


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