Perhaps no other food says Middle Eastern cuisine more than falafel, that simple Arab comfort food made from chickpeas or fava beans. Although it’s usually part of the everyday Middle Eastern breakfast, Arabs enjoy this crispy treat any time of the day.

With that in mind, today you’ll learn how to make falafel with canned chickpeas. And you’ll be doing it using one of the easiest Middle Eastern recipes around. Just the thought of this is already making us hungry, so let’s go!

What are the Ingredients?

Arabs traditionally make falafel from dried chickpeas, However, since  you might find dried chickpeas hard to find,  we’re using the canned version for this recipe. (Also, you have to let dried chickpeas soak overnight, and really, who has time for that?)

Besides chickpeas and Middle Eastern spices, here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need as you learn how to cook falafel:

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (rinsed, drained and – very important – patted dry)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup medium shallots or sub white onion
  • 2 Tablespoons raw sesame seeds 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 good pinch each of coriander and ground cardamom
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking 

How to Make Falafel

The great thing about this recipe is that it takes very little preparation time to make this falafel. Actually, the greatest amount of time is spent just waiting the (highly-recommended) 1-2 hours for chilling in the fridge. 

  1. First, add chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander and cardamom to a food processor or blender.  Then, pulse/mix to combine the ingredients, scraping down the sides as needed until thoroughly combined. In the end, your goal is a crumbly dough, not a pasty one.

  • Next, add  your flour one tablespoon at a time (usually about 4 tablespoons).  Continue to pulse/mix to combine until the dough is no longer wet.  (You should be able to mold the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands.)  
  • Afterwards, transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until firm. 
  • Once chilled, scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts  and gently form into around 11-12 small discs.
  • Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add about two tablespoons to liberally coat the pan.
  • Then, Once the oil is hot, add about 5-7 falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan.
  • Cook 4-5 minutes, flipping when the underside is deep golden brown. Repeat until all falafel are deep golden brown and crispy.
  • Finally, remove the falafel from the pan, let cool a bit and enjoy!

bil-hanā’ wa ash-shifā’ !

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