*The first time I tried falafel I thought it was the best thing I ever put in my mouth. After four years in Israel, however, I grew a little falafel-weary. A falafel stand is as common in Beer Sheva as a crawfish drive-thru in Louisiana. I took this chickpea delicacy (also known as Israel’s national snack) as a little too for granted when living there and now I really miss them. They are a bit of a mess to make but when you want to relive your Israel experience, falafel is the best way to get back there through your palate.
1 and 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
pinch ground red chili
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
vegetable oil for deep fry
1) Put chickpeas in a bowl. Add 4 cups of cold water and soak overnight.
2) Drain chickpeas and rinse.
3) Combine chickpeas with onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, chili, coriander, cumin, baking soda, salt and pepper.
4) Put mixture in food processor (may need to work in batches) until finely ground. Knead mixture with hands. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for thirty minutes.
5) With hands shape mixture into balls and then flatten into patties 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on baking sheet and set aside.
6) Pour 1 inch of oil in heavy frying pan over medium heat. Let oil heat to 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer than try the Cooks Illustrated Method: drop a single kernel of popcorn into the oil as you heat it. The kernel will pop as the oil reaches between 350 and 360 degrees.
7) Add 6 patties to oil at a time. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels.
*Recipe by Shelley Neese, vice president of The Jerusalem Connection. Click here for her articles and videos.