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The Original Veggie Burger: Felafel!

March 11, 2014

Before there were burgers or chicken nuggets, there was falafel. These browned chickpea nuggets made the right way taste crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside. The word falafel is actually plural for the Arabic word for “filfil”, which means hot pepper. Traditional falafel is spicy hot, but I prefer the tamer version so I can taste the counterbalance between the nutty chickpeas and the fresh parsley. The boxed variety sold in stores do not do this food justice so don’t even waste your time with those. Making your own is a lot easier than you think!

 

 

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The falafel batter is also  very versatile. Usually they are made into small patties that you can tuck into fresh pita or sesame bread with a yogurt tahini sauce and fresh veggies on top. They are also served as appetizers alongside hummus. However, you can get creative. Make the patties larger and you have lovely vegetarian burgers. While you get the best results from deep-frying the falafel, you can make a figure friendly version by browning them in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Most Middle Eastern markets sell the dried chick peas in one and a half pound bags labeled garbanzo, or hummus (Arabic word for chick pea). You can make a huge batch and freeze, but it’s important to not add the baking soda until you are ready to cook them. Felafel has been a food tradition in my family for generations, particularly during lent, when fasting from all meats. In this video my mother and I share insider tips on how to make the perfect felafel. Enjoy!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2014 9:49 pm

    Lovely !
    I usually add fresh coriander besides the parsley and properly more than parsley.
    sometimes I add green onions as well. and instead of the spice filfil I add a green chili pepper :D some people also prefer adding foul with the hummos, never tried it in my kitchen tho.

    IF you tried the Bethlehem falafel then you have to try Ramallah ones :p

    • March 13, 2014 9:43 pm

      I have never tried it with coriander, I bet it tastes delicious! I know Ramallah is awesome too–I haven’t been there since 1997–hope to go back some day habibtee! ;)

  2. August 11, 2014 4:53 pm

    how can i print out the recipe?

  3. December 28, 2014 4:58 pm

    bonjour Blanche :-),

    I’d better continue this little thank you note in English as i understand you’re not Lebanese :-) as I wrongly assumed initially . Where to start …i felt compelled to leave you a note as i’ve spent most of my evening watching you and your mum like i would sit in front of a good movie :-) ..your mum had a terrific idea with this youtube channel on how to cook Middle east feasts and feast it is indeed :-) I am french and some of my favorite food / dishes are from the Middle east : tabuleh , hummus and felafel indeed …and thanks to you I now have a rough idea how to make my own version ( I am a vegetarian eating mostly raw food ).
    I wanted to ask you abut the cheek pees : you let them soak over night but do not cook them before putting them in the food processor right ?
    I understand why whenever i buy my felafels from the Latin quarters ” in Paris , they do not taste the same . In the greek shop they must put them in the oven without the baking soda and/ or baking powder …and the ones i get from time to time from the Lebanese corner shop / restaurant are very similar to yours :-) yummi ….but i usually avoid frying foods

    I’ll try with a low heat oven yet for slighty longer time…it will be like a dehydrator …hope it will work nicely

    Thank you so much for sharing your “savoir faire” with so much grace and joy : -)
    you& your mum are a delight to watch.

    As a favor and perhaps an idea for the next recipe : how would you make a Baba ghanoush without burning the egglant ( which is not healthy ). I love baba ghanoush

    Thank you again : your joie de vivre is contagious !

    • January 8, 2015 9:29 pm

      Bonjour Marlene and thank you for your kind comment. Yes, you soak the chickpeas so you do not have to cook them. At that point they have soaked up enough liquid so that it will form a nice paste once you put it in the food processor. If you do not like deep frying, perhaps you can try frying in only a little oil, that way it will get nicely browned and crispy on the outside. The baking soda is important to make the felafel rise, otherwise they will be hard like stones. :) Just make sure you add it last minute. I will pass your message on to my mother. At first she thought I was crazy to do a cooking show, and shy about doing it with me, but now she enjoys it, particularly when she gets such lovely feedback as yours. I love France soooooo much, hope you enjoy your beautiful country!! Best, Blanche

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