Tracy Lee Karner
The Way I Was

Weekend Falafel

Tracy Lee Karner
Yummy Falafel in whole wheat pita–and a nifty little pea / feta salad tossed with yogurt and minced pickled jalapeno).

My weekly day off, you’ll find me cooking up a storm. To keep the weekend relaxing, I’ve learned to prepare ahead so that my day of rest doesn’t feel hectic and rushed.

Last week I posted what I did to prepare ahead for this meal, to make the complicated fiesta–Falafel with whole wheat pita (everything from scratch)–feel like less work. To see last week’s post, click here.

Here’s the recipe for the falafel (serves 3, double or triple it, if you need to):

• a hefty 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (3-1/2 ounces), soaked overnight (chickpeas are the one-and-only beans I presoak), then cooked for 40 minutes until tender but not mushy (about 30-40 minutes, depending on how fresh they are)–you could substitute 1 (16-ounce) can, drained, but they’ll be mushier and harder to handle when you’re forming the patties;

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

• 1 small stalk celery, finely chopped

• 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

• 1/4 teaspoon each, ground coriander, oregano, ground black pepper and Ken’s famously perfect all-purpose gourmet seasoning .Or substitute Lawry’s or your favorite blend–everyone who has ever tried Ken’s requests his, and now we’re giving so much of the stuff away every year, that pretty soon we’re going to have to start selling it. Seriously, about 50 households are now asking us to fill their order every few months.

• 1-2 tablespoons of flour (I used white whole wheat; you could use all-purpose).

• about 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs, seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt

• Vegetable oil for deep frying.

1. Drain the chickpeas and discard the water. Blend or process them together with the minced garlic & onion and all the spices, until fairly smooth. (You’ll need a strong blender–this is thick).

2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of flour–enough that you can form them into small patties (I made 10). Roll each patty in breadcrumbs and leave them uncovered at room temperature for up to 2 hours to dry out (refrigerate them, uncovered, if you’re making them many hours ahead of frying, as I did).

3. Pour the oil into a deep-fat fryer or a deep kettle–at least 2 inches deep. Heat to 375 degrees F.

4. Using a skimmer, gently lower the chickpea balls into the hot oil (2-3 at a time) and fry (in batches of 5-6) until firm and brown, about 3 minutes. Remove them with the skimmer and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a heated oven (200 degrees F).

5. Serve with chopped tomatoes, peppers, onion and cucumber (I tossed all the vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of malt vinegar), the tahini-yogurt dressing (for recipe, click here) and pita. People can stuff the pita, or make a salad, or whatever they want to do.

Yes, it was a lot of work, but by pacing myself, the big job became manageable, and the result was worth the planning and effort. It was one of those meals when everyone gets silent while eating–because this falafel was SOOOO good, it rendered us speechless.

What’s your recipe for making everyone silent, in awe of how good it tastes?

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4 thoughts on “Weekend Falafel”

  1. I love falafel and am always looking for ways to improve it. Tell me more about Ken’s seasoning please. Do you give the recipe somewhere here or do I need an ordered filled as well? 🙂

    1. Heidi–he’s been making up this seasoning mix for 30 years or longer. It adds a special “wow” to everything from burgers to salad dressings, melds into and enhances everything but never makes a “statement” about its own presence. He’s just got one of those tasters. (Also makes up chili powders, bbq sauces, shrimp boil, garam masala). Everyone who tastes the “all-purpose” asks for refills (I just popped another one in the mail today). I don’t even know the recipe. But there are quite a few good “all-purpose” seasonings out there. I think what made this so special, was the texture–using dried not canned beans, definitely using garlic in the seasoning, and rolling them in bread crumbs. (But if he decides to publish the seasoning recipe or sell the stuff, I’ll sure let you know).

  2. V: it was incredibly delicious. The salad was an afterthought, and so simple, but so good. Ken pickles his own peppers, but you could use chopped canned peppers available in the mexican food section of every grocery store here…(is there a mexican food section in your neck of the woods?). It goes together in 3 minutes or so… The pita a falafel are fussy, but worth it if you enjoy cooking.

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