Falafel (Traditional Method)

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Falafel with detailed step by step photos. Falafel is a delicious snack that you can easily make at home following this foolproof recipe. A Vegan Recipe.

falafel served in a chip and dip platter with muhammara

This recipe will give you one of the best falafel – crispy, crunchy, tasty and one you can enjoy as a plain snack or serve in pita bread with tahini sauce, hummus and pickles.

Making falafel is very easy and even beginners can make this delicious snack with this detailed recipe.

I have been making falafel for decades and it is a favorite snack at home. So I do make these at times. Some times I just serve them plain with a side dip or sauce and at times as a stuffing in pita bread or sandwiches.

What is falafel

Falafel is a fried middle eastern fried snack made with chickpeas or fava beans, herbs and spices. They can be made as patties or balls. It is also a popular street food in the middle east. This recipe shows you how to make falafel with dried chickpeas.

Falafel is mostly served in pita bread with hummus, tahini sauce, salad or pickled vegetables. however, you can even have falafel as a plain snack with a dip or chutney or even tomato ketchup.

These crispy falafels can also be served sandwiched between bread slices or a burger with your favorite toppings.

3 Steps to make falafel

  1. Soaking:  this method of making falafel is the traditional method, where dried raw chickpeas are used. The chickpeas are soaked in water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
  2. Grinding: the soaked chickpeas are then ground semi coarsely. When grinding the chickpeas, seasonings, herbs and spices are added. You can use a good blender, mixer-grinder or a food processor to grind the chickpeas.
  3. Frying: the semi coarsely ground chickpea mixture is then shaped into balls or patties and deep-fried. Though you can even shallow fry or bake them. Falafel made with the traditional deep frying method gives you one of the best falafel.
 
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make falafel

Making falafel mixture

1. Rinse 1 cup dried chickpeas a couple of times in water. Then soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Cover the bowl while soaking. The next day, drain all the water. Rinse the soaked chickpeas in running water. Drain again the water very well.

soaked chickpeas in a bowl

2. Then add the chickpeas in a grinder jar or a food processor or in a blender jar.

soaked chickpeas added in a grinder jar

3. Add the spices, seasonings and herbs – ¼ cup chopped onions, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves or 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves, ½ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground coriander powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin powder, ¼ teaspoon whole black pepper and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. Also, add salt as per taste.

spices and herbs added to soaked chickpeas in the grinder jar

4. Add ½ teaspoon lemon juice.

lemon juice added

5. Grind the mixture in small intervals of time. Scrape the sides of the mixture and add back in the jar. You can also use the pulse option which is there in the mixer-grinder or blender machine.

roughly ground falafel mixture

6. You should get a semi coarse mixture. Don’t make it too pasty and too smooth. Avoid adding water while grinding. If you are unable to grind without water, then you can add 1 to 3 tablespoons of water. If the mixture is too coarse, you won’t be able to shape them into balls. The consistency should be semi coarse, so that you are able to shape them in balls or patties. You can even refrigerate the mixture for some hours or a couple of days.

ground falafel mixture

7. Take the falafel mixture in a bowl. Check the taste and add more salt or spice powders if required. Mix again very well.

ground falafel mixture taken in a bowl

Test before frying falafel

8. First let’s test. Heat oil for shallow frying or deep frying in a pan or kadai. Roll a small ball or patty from the mixture and place it in the oil.

testing a tiny piece of ground mixture in hot oil

9. If the falafel does not break, then you are good to go with the frying. If it breaks then add ½ to 1 tablespoon more of the all-purpose flour (maida) to the falafel mixture.

The oil temperature is also crucial, as if the oil is not hot enough, the falafel can break. When you place the falafel in the oil, it should come up gradually on top. If it does not come on the top or sticks to the pan, the oil is not hot enough. If it comes too quickly and starts browning fast, the oil is very hot.

perfectly fried tiny falafel ball

Frying falafel

10. Make medium sized balls from the ground mixture and place them in medium hot oil. Add the number of balls depending on the size and capacity of the kadai or pan. Do not crowd the pan.

medium sized balls of falafel mixture placed in hot oil

11. When the bases get light golden, gently turn over.

lightly fried falafel being turned over in hot oil

12.  and fry the other side.

falafel being deep fried

13. Fry till they become crisp and are golden.

frying falafel till crisp and golden

13. Place fried falafels on kitchen paper towels so that they absorb extra oil.

falafels placed on kitchen paper towels

14. This way fry more falafel with the rest of the ground chickpea mixture.

many fried falafel balls placed on kitchen paper towel

15. Serve falafel as a side snack with a tahini dip or hummus. Falafel also tastes good with coriander chutney and even tomato sauce. You can also stuff them in pita breads or make a falafel wrap. I served them with muhammara (roasted red bell pepper dip).

falafel served in a chip and dip platter with muhammara

Serving falafel

  • Snack or finger food – falafel can be served plain as a snack with a dip or sauce.
  • In burgers, sandwiches, pita bread – you can also serve them stuffed in pita bread, buns, sandwich, burger or in a wrap or roll with tahini, hummus and pickled veggies or mix grated veggies.
  • Appetizer or starter: these can also be a part of a lebanese mezze if you plan to make one.
  • Salad – they make a nice addition in a salad.
Tips

Tips to make falafel

1. Dried chickpeas: in a falafel, crispy texture is achieved by using dried chickpeas. So I would suggest you to use dried chickpeas if making falafel for the first time. Canned chickpeas give a completely different taste and texture. They also require more all-purpose flour to be added.

2. Binding: as a binding agent you can use all purpose flour. Even whole wheat flour works well. For a gluten free falafel, use rice flour or chickpea flour.

3. Frying: the oil has to be hot enough when frying falafel. So before frying always check a small ball made from the mixture. It should not break or get too browned from outside.

If the oil is not hot, the falafel may absorb more oil and can also break in the oil. If the oil is too hot, the falafel can get browned from outside too quickly leaving the insides raw. So when frying fry at a medium to medium-high flame.

4. Consistency: The consistency of the ground mixture is semi coarse or semi-fine. Do not grind it too coarse as then the falafel balls cannot be shaped easily.

You can though grind to a fine consistency but don’t make it very smooth and pasty. The resulting texture in the fried falafel will be soft from inside but will taste good.

5. Storing falafel mixture: you can make a batch of the ground falafel mixture and then refrigerate or freeze it for a couple of days. Before frying let the ground mixture come at room temperature.

Falafel variations

  • Herbs – to the basic ground mixture, many variations can be done. More herbs can be added and you can make herbed falafel.
  • Healthy greens – greens like spinach, kale, amaranth can be added and you can have green falafel.
  • Veggies – beetroot, cabbage, radish or carrots can also be added to the ground chickpea mixture
  • Spices – various combinations of spice powders can be used to make a variety of falafel.
  • Baking – Falafel can be easily baked too. Shape them into patties. Place in a greased baking tray. Brush the tops and sides of the patties lightly with oil. In a preheated oven bake at 180 degrees celsius. Turn over halfway and continue to bake till they have a crisp and golden crust on top.

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Crispy Falafel (Traditional Method)

4.91 from 11 votes
Falafel is a middle eastern fried snack made with chickpeas or fava beans. The recipe posted here shows how to make falafel with dried chickpeas, which have been soaked and then ground.
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 30 mins

Cuisine Lebanese, World
Course: Snacks
Diet: Vegan
Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried white chickpeas or 200 grams dried white chickpeas
  • 1 small onion – chopped or ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves) or 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper or sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (coriander powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper or ½ tsp crushed black pepper or pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour or add as required
  • salt as required
  • oil for deep frying, as required

Instructions

soaking chickpeas

  • Rinse 1 cup chickpeas for a couple of times in water. Then soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Drain them well. 
  • Rinse them in running water. Drain very well again.

grinding

  • Then add them in a grinder jar or a food processor or in a blender jar.
  • Add the spices, seasonings and herbs – ¼ cup chopped onion, 1 tsp chopped garlic, 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves or parsley, ½ tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, ¼ tsp black pepper and 1 tbsp all purpose flour.
  • Also add ½ tsp lemon juice and salt as per taste.
  • Grind the mixture in small intervals of time. Scrape the sides of the mixture and add back in the jar.
  • You should get a semi coarse mixture. Don’t make it too pasty and smooth. Avoid adding water while grinding. If you are unable to grind without water, then you can add 1 to 3 tbsp of water.
  • Take the mixture in a bowl. Check the taste and add more salt or spices if required. With a spoon or your hands mix everything well.
  • If the mixture is too coarse, you won't be able to shape them into balls. The consistency should be semi coarse, so that you are able to shape them in balls or patties. You can even refrigerate the mixture for some hours or a couple of days.

checking oil temperature before frying falafel

  • First lets test the falafel. Heat oil for deep frying in a pan or kadai. Roll a small ball or patty from the mixture and place it in the oil.
  • If it does not break, then you are good to go with the frying. If it breaks then add ½ to 1 tbsp more of the all-purpose flour.
  • The oil temperature is also crucial, as if the oil is not hot enough, the falafel can break. 
  • When you place the falafel in the oil, it should come up gradually to the top. If it does not come to the top or sticks to the pan, the oil is not hot enough. If it comes too quickly and starts browning fast, the oil is very hot.

frying falafel

  • Make medium sized balls from the ground mixture and place them in medium hot oil. Add the number of balls depending on the size and capacity of the kadai or pan. Do not crowd the pan.
  • When the bases get light golden, gently turn over and fry the other side.
  • Fry till they become crisp and are golden.
  • Drain them on kitchen paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • This way make falafel with the rest of the mixture.
  • Serve falafel as a side snack with a tahini dip or hummus. It also tastes good with cilantro chutney and even tomato sauce. You can also stuff them in pita breads. 

Video

Notes

  • To make gluten free version use rice flour or gram flour instead of all purpose flour.
  • Use dried chickpeas to get the crispy texture. Using canned chickpeas will give a completely different taste and texture. You will also require to add some more all purpose flour to bind the mixture well. 
  • Fry falafel in medium hot oil. Before frying always check a small ball made from the mixture. It should not break or get too browned from outside. If the oil is not hot, it may absorb more oil and can also break in the oil. If the oil is too hot, it can get browned from outside too quickly leaving the insides raw. So when frying fry at a medium to medium high flame. 
  • The consistency of the ground mixture is semi coarse or semi fine. Do not make it too coarse as the falafel balls cannot be shaped easily. But you can grind to a fine consistency. The resulting texture in the fried falafel will be smooth from inside but will taste good. 
  • You can easily store ground mixture in the fridge or freezer for a couple of days. Before frying let the ground mixture come at room temperature. 

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Calories: 356kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 14gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 412mgPotassium: 649mgFiber: 13gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 170IUVitamin B1 (Thiamine): 1mgVitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 1mgVitamin B3 (Niacin): 1mgVitamin B6: 1mgVitamin C: 6mgVitamin E: 5mgVitamin K: 8µgCalcium: 89mgVitamin B9 (Folate): 383µgIron: 5mgMagnesium: 85mgPhosphorus: 255mgZinc: 2mg

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Dassana Amit

Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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43 Comments

  1. Hello mam…what can be added to make a gluten free version…cornflour or roasted besan?? Which will taste nicer???
    Btw ur recipes are awesome

  2. When we were in US, a middle eastern friend suggested we use split green garbanzo (chickpeas/chana). It used to taste awesome. We moved to India recently and we have been searching for split hara chana (green chickpeas) since then but with no luck. Any idea where can we get that from?5 stars

    1. hara chana is available in most grocery stores in metros. you can even find them in big stores like reliance etc. or you can buy online from amazon.in or bigbasket.

  3. Really love your recipe. I have been using Desi chickpeas for my recipes. How long would you recommend soaking them for this recipe?

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