Falafel is a common street food in the Middle East. They are gluten free, crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and full of flavor from cilantro, mint, coriander and nutty sesame seeds. Parsley can be added or used instead of mint. The classic version is deep-fried, but they can also be pan-fried, baked or cooked in an air fryer. Serve in or alongside pita bread with red onion, tomato, pickled cucumber and tahini sauce. —Nithya Narasimhan, Chennai, India
In a large bowl, cover chickpeas with water. Stir in baking soda. Cover; let stand overnight. Drain; rinse and pat dry.
In a food processor, pulse cilantro and mint until finely chopped. Add beans, garlic, salt, pepper if desired, coriander and chili powder. Pulse until mixture is blended and the texture of coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Stir in sesame seeds and baking powder. Shape into sixteen 2-in. balls. In an electric skillet or a deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry falafel balls, a few at a time, until golden brown, about 2 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels.
How do you make the falafel mixture easy to shape?
Chilling the falafel mixture for an hour in the fridge makes it easier to shape, so make sure you don't skip that step!
What are some variations of this falafel recipe?
Replace the mint with parsley for a more traditional take on this falafel recipe, or try pan-frying, baking or air-frying your falafel. Or, try one of these recipes based on the classic falafel, like falafel-chicken burgers or falafel waffles.
How do you serve falafel?
Serve your falafel in or alongside pita bread with red onion, tomato, pickled cucumber and tahini sauce.