The Ultimate Falafel Pocket

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The 'Ultimate' Falafel Pocket

Repeat after me. I will never buy falafels from the supermarket again! Nothing and we mean nothing compares to the taste and crunch of a homemade falafel. When done right, these little morsels of chickpea will have you moaning, groaning, and wanting more. Now, before you read the recipe and think, oh I'll just shortcut by using canned chickpeas. A caution of warning - they won't turn out the same! They just won't. 

 

The chickpeas in this recipe get soaked overnight but never cooked; whereas the canned variety are pre-cooked, meaning they are far too mushy for creating the crispy coating needed in this recipe. You'll also be tempted to reach for the flour, in which case, you'll need to remind yourself to have faith in the process. The recipe has a lot of instructions, thus it may feel a touch overwhelming and a task far too great for the home kitchen. However, once you get the hang of making falafels, you'll realise just how simple and easy they are to make. 

Makes 20-24 falafels|Overnight soaking|

15 mins Prep|30 mins cook

Ingredients

Method

Falafel mixture
350g dried chickpeas
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
1/4 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
A generous pinch of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
500ml EVOO to fry 
White bean dip (optional)
400g can white beans, drained, liquid reserved
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, juice only
2 tbs tahini
1 tsp ground cumin
A generous pinch of salt
Sumac onions (optional)
1/2 white onion
1 tsp sumac
A pinch of salt
To serve
Tomatoes
Lettuce or rocket
A few sprigs of parsley, roughly chopped
An assortment of pickles - we used feferoni chillies, red cabbage, radish
4 x pita pockets (we used mission)
Sauce - hummus, garlic yoghurt, chilli, really whatever tickles your fancy
 
 
Falafels
Step 1. Place the chickpeas in a large container with a fitted lid and cover with at least double the volume of cold water. Soak for 6-8hrs, preferably overnight until the chickpeas have tripled in size.  
Step 2. The next day, drain the liquid from the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas into a food processor along with the roughly chopped onion, garlic, fresh parsley & coriander; ground cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. Season generously with salt. Process the mixture, occasionally scraping down the sides until the paste is wet and slightly mushy. Add the bi-carbonate of soda and mix until well incorporated. 
Step 3. Now it's time to shape. You can make whatever shape you like, however we find that making a rissole shape ensures the falafels cook fast and evenly. When shaping the falafel mixture, to prevent it from sticking to your hand slightly wet them before spooning 2 tablespoons of mixture and rolling to form a ball. Squash the balls ever so slightly to form a rissole shape. Tip - don't compress the mixture too much otherwise they will become dense.
Step 4. Meanwhile, fill a heavy based fry pan or pot with the oil. Heat the  oil over a medium-high heat until the temperature of the oil reaches 180C. If you don't have a thermometer, take a small amount of the falafel mixture and drop it into the hot oil. If the mixture sizzle immediately the oil is ready. 
Step 5. Fry the falafels in batches, usually 3-6 per pan, for 4-6 minutes or until a nice deep golden brown and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the falafels from the oil and transfer to a tray lined with paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining falafel mixture. 
White bean dip
Step 6. If you are making the white bean dip, to save on washing up, process the mixture in the food processor prior to making the falafel mixture. 
Step 7. Place the white bean in the food processor and process until the mixture forms a stiff paste. With the motor running, add the crushed garlic cloves, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, salt and 3 tbs of the aquafaba (reserved liquid from the bean can). 
Step 8. Process the mixture until smooth and creamy, around 5-6 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
Step 9. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. 
Sumac onions
Step 10. Place white onions in a bowl with cold water. Set aside to soak for at least 5-10 minutes. 
Step 11. Drain the water from the onions and place them back into the bowl along with the sumac and salt. Toss to combine. 
To serve
Step 12. Heat a frying pan over high heat, working in batches, toast the pita for 30 seconds on each side or until lightly charred and warmed through. 
Step 13. Slice the pita in half, spoon a generous amount of the white bean dip before adding rocket, tomatoes, herbs, onions, pickles and falafels. Devour immediately. 

Notes

- If you've ever bought store brought falafels, then you'll know that they don't store particularly well. Falafels must be made and eaten fresh on the day. You have a few options here, you can immediately fry the falafels or store uncooked falafels in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a day before cooking; otherwise you can freeze them for later use. The falafels can be fried from frozen just remember to not overcrowd the pan otherwise the oil with cool down too rapidly, absorbing too much oil and leading to a less than desired result. 

- For other variations on the recipe, replace the white bean dip with hummus, garlic yoghurt, tahini sauce or beetroot dip. 

- Instead of making the mixture into falafels why not shape them into patties for our spicy falafel burger 

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