This past weekend was the Jewish Food Festival. We forgot it twice. I was determined to go and have falafel. We were in Walmart at 2:00 on Sunday and we remembered it.
This wouldn't have been a big deal, except that during the Greek Food Festival this year, we'll be up and Mom and Dad's, so no falafel for Angel then, either. So, I set out to make some with all the pleasure of "real" fried falafel but without the guilt/grease. I started with this recipe as my base. The problem, though, if you've ever made falafel with cooked chickpeas is that they are mushy. So, instead of cooking them all the way through, I did a hot soak, then rinsed them off in cold water to cool them off and stop the cooking. I let them drain before proceeding. Here's what I threw together:
A handful of mint leaves
A handful (about 1/2 a small bunch) of cilantro
A handful of Greek oregano leaves (leaves from about 1/2 dozen sprigs)
These went into the food processor and got chopped fairly fine. Those go into a bowl. Into the processor, put in 1/4 of a large sweet onion (I had a Texas sweet, but Vidalia would be great) and chop that fairly fine. Into the bowl with the herbs. Next, take 1 3/4 cups of your partially cooked chickpeas. Grind until they are coarsely chopped. Into the bowl.
To the bowl I added a good five cloves of fresh garlic smashed/minced finely. I started throwing in salt, pepper, dried garlic powder, dried onion powder, a good pinch of smoked paprika, and some cumin. Taste as you go--you want this to be fairly tasty, and not too bland. When it tastes like raw falafel, throw in about 2T of flour (I used white whole wheat), 1/4 t. baking soda and the juice of 1/2 a lime (I didn't have lemons). Start mixing. You should be squeezing it in your hands until you get a good mix that will hold together. I then used my Tablespoon scoop to measure out balls. I got 17.
I wanted these to be crispy, so I preheated the oven to 450 and rolled my falafel in flour. I then did a flax wash (you could do an egg wash if you want), and rolled them in store bought bread crumbs (the kind in the round tube). Onto a baking sheet, spray with your favorite non-stick spray. In the oven for about 15 minutes, turn them, and cook for 15 or 20 more. You want some sides pretty browned. Here's what mine looked like when they were ready.