When I was at University in the late 90s it felt like you could get Falafel pretty much everywhere you went – probably because I was frequenting the sorts of places that served them as student friendly food. They’re pretty cheap, pretty tasty and vegan. An all-round winner when you’re trying to be cool and living on a budget. I really grew to love them and have made them a few times since as a grown up. The trouble is you don’t see them in restaurants that often and as a result we’ve drifted apart over the years. I guess their simplicity has played slightly against them and they’re now the preserve (in my experience at least) of festivals and markets…
It’s a bit of a shame as a well made falafel is damn tasty. With good spicing and a crisp outside even the most ardent of meat-eaters would struggle to complain about the lack of meat. At home I don’t make the normal little falafel any more, as I’m not a huge fan of deep frying anything. Therefore, I’ve somewhat upscaled their size into Falafel Burgers – served here with tomato chutney and houmous in a toasted pitta bread.
They feel a little more grown up served this way…even if I managed to make them incredibly un-photogenic. Good job they taste better than they look, eh?
I love Falafels - the firm texture and warming flavours are an absolute joy, especially when served crisp and hot straight from the pan. In this recipe they're made as larger burgers rather than smaller balls, but that last stage really is up to you.
For the Burgers
- 400 g Canned Chickpeas drained (240g when drained)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ Red Onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled
- 1 handful Fresh Coriander finely chopped
- 1 handful Fresh Parsley finely chopped
- 1 Lemon juiced and zested
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp Plain Flour
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil for frying
- 2 Pitta Breads toasted
- 4 tbsp Tomato Chutney
- 4 tbsp Hummus
- Crisp Lettuce of your choice shredded
- Cucumber sliced
Start by rinsing the chickpeas then leaving them to dry for a few minutes on some kitchen paper or clean tea towel. Pat them dry to remove as much surface moisture as you can.
Pour half of the chickpeas into a food processor and blitz until smooth, adding the olive oil to assist. Tip into a bowl and put to one side.
Pour the remaining chickpeas into the food processor, along with the remaining falafel ingredients. Pulse several times until you have a coarse, sandy texture making sure to not overmix the ingedients.
When you're happy with the texture tip the contents of the food processor in with the puréed chickpeas and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes - this will make the mixture firmer and easier to shape.
When chilled separate the mixture into 4 equally sized portions and shape these into burger patties.
When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the burgers to the pan and cook until the bottoms are crisp and golden - this should take between 4 and 6 minutes. Flip the burgers and repeat on the other side.
To serve, toast the the pitta breads then cut in half. Make a pocket and spoon in some tomato chutney and hummus, followed by a bit of cucumber and lettuce. Add the burgers and enjoy.