After over 2 years(!) I decided last month that it was time to try making falafel again. My first attempt was a disaster (“broken falafel, broken dreams”). I am happy to report that while not perfect, this was a definite improvement on attempt #1, mostly because I have greatly improved my deep-frying skills.
Last time I used an Ottolenghi recipe. This time I tried one from Bon Appetit. I also went the proper route and used raw chickpeas and soaked them overnight. This is the first time I’ve done this — I figured if I was going to try to improve on my first attempt, I’d better do it properly. I also learned something: the chickpeas won’t be soft after soaking. I was a bit confused because I expected them to be (and I’d had them soaking for about 20 hours, so thought I was doing something wrong). But no, merely soaking chickpeas doesn’t make them soft, which apparently makes for the exact right texture when it comes to frying them for falafel.
Everything went well until I started to form the mixture into balls — always the point in any shaping/frying activity when my heart starts to beat a little faster, in case everything falls apart. At first, they were not sticking together well. I found that the only way to make them stick was to press them hard into my hands. It’s messy work.
The recipe specified to fry them for five minutes. I used peanut oil which seemed to work really well. In order to make sure the oil is hot enough (a problem in round 1, I think), I waited until small bubbles appeared. As I had a few batches, I experimented with the timing a bit after realizing that my first batch came out too well-done. The subsequent batches were a bit better but at least for my frying system, 2.5 or 3 minutes worked best.
I served the falafel with a side salad and two dips, hummus (store-bought), and a green tahini sauce, which was good but slightly too salty (the recipe calls for 2 tsp, I’d suggest 1 tsp and then adjust to taste).
I halved the recipe and it made enough for the two of us plus my lunch the next day. While they were successful overall, I don’t think these will become a staple in my repertoire (or not this version at least) since they are just a little too cumbersome/finicky.