RECIPE: Baked falafel

by - January 11, 2009

I went to pick up my favorite pack of falafel the other day and noticed that they had gone up to £2.49. Yowsers.

In the spirit of the credit crunch I decided to have a bash at these. I used to be one of those mugs who bought ready made hummus too until one of my friends beat me about the head and I realised how easy, quick AND CHEAP it is to make.

My first attempt at making falafel was such an overwhelming disaster. My oil was not hot enough to fry them in, thus they absorbed the oil, thus they were rank. I am not one for deep frying. I think there are many ways to cook things and deep frying is last on my list of methods, plus it makes you stink as well as being unhealthy.

So after a few tweaks and twists I settled on this one. Purists may suck in air at the thought of baking falafel but hey, it's my way of getting back at those who serve lasagna with salad on the side.

1 Can of chickpeas (drained well)
1 Small onion
2 Cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons plain flour
Small handful of fresh parsley
1 Teaspoon coriander
1 Teaspoon cumin
A nip of cayenne powder
Half teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Using a food processor/chopper wizz all of the above ingedients except the olive oil. The chickpeas should look like very coarse breadcrumbs. If like my processor, it may be too small to do at once so do in batches. Ensure that all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly by emptying into a bowl and mixing with your hands. Taste for seasoning. Leave this mixture for at least 30 minute for the flavours to infuse.

Preheat the oven to about 200C

Prepare a baking dish or tray by drizzling the oil in. Using your hands, make walnut sized balls from the mixture and place in the preheated dish. The mixture should make about 9 balls.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden, turning half way through. Once cooled they should crunch up nicely on the outside - perfect for colleague-envy lunches with pitta, (home-made!) hummus and salad.

Next time I may use dried chickpeas (soaked overnight) and add a touch of lemon rind but for now I'm pretty happy with these.

The best thing is that this should cost you well under a pound to produce. Eat that credit crunch!

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