Falafel is beginning to go mainstream in the US and it's about time! Anyone who enjoys hush puppies or refried beans should also like falafel since they are all basically the same thing: fried dough!
Most people will try the boxed falafel mix because it is so much easier than making it from scratch and while I agree that making falafel from scratch is more work, I do it because 1) mine is better than the boxed, and 2) mine is much less expensive! $2.00 for a batch of falafel is robbery! LOL! The recipe below hints as to how often I make traditional falafel....
Another good reason to make falafel from scratch is that you can adapt it to your personal preferences. We regularly enjoy Hybrid Falafel, which is the regular stuff with any number of additives:
Make a batch of Traditional Falafel and divide in half. Mix 1 cup of ground turkey with 1/2 of the falafel and then form into balls, fry and add to spaghetti sauce for spaghetti & meatballs.
Sautee 1 cup of finely chopped mushrooms and add them to a batch of falafel, then fry as usual.
Crumble a batch of falafel into a frying pan and brown well in place of the hamburger in Hamburger Helper.
Form your falafel ball around a cube of cheese and fry as usual.
First make your "Vickie's Quickie Falafel Spice Mix":
4 Cups flour
3/4 Cup minced onion
3/4 Cup Italian 7 Spice
1/4 Cup garlic powder
1/4 Cup cumin
1/4 Cup baking powder
1/4 Cup Vegeta(Baltic Seasoning Salt) or salt
Mix everything together well and store in an airtight container.
Makes about 7 cups of mix or enough for about 28 batches.
For the beans I use the #10 can of garbanzo beans ($2.09 at my local restaurant supply store. Enough for 7 batches of Falafel.) Measure out the beans into 1 quart ziptop bags--2 cups of drained beans per bag. Freeze these until you are ready to use them.
To make falafel: defrost 1 bag of beans and crush them right in the bag. I use the bottom of a mug to do this.If you are using dried beans-soak 1 cup of beans over night. Or, you can use 1 15 oz can. When the beans are all mashed up, add 1/2 of a medium onion(finely chopped)(about 1/2 cup) and 1/4 of a cup of the Falafel Spice Mix. Mix together well and form into balls the size of a golf ball. Flatten slightly and fry until golden brown on both sides.
Only fry what you want for a single meal. Mixture may be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
By doing Falafel this way I can make a batch from freezer to table in 10-15 mins for about 50 cents a batch.
Make a batch of the Traditional Falafel from canned beans but instead of draining the beans use the liquid too. Stir everything together well and place into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes until it is cooked through. Stir the mixture often while it is cooling. Spoon over tortilla chips, top with cheese and bake until the cheese is melted. Serve with salsa. YUM!