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Old 03-11-2011, 08:06 AM   #1
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Falafel

Does any one know what the pungent/fragrant spice in some falafels are? Also, I'm used to having falafels made from chickpeas. The other day I ordered a falafel and the majority of it was made from bulgar wheat. Is that common?

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Old 03-11-2011, 08:54 AM   #2
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Cumin is probably the most prominent spice in falafel. I have never had it made entirely out of bulgur, but the recipe I use says you can add some of that instead of flour to help bind it. I've never used it myself though, I just use regular AP flour. Recipes for falafel are as subjective as those for minestrone or chicken & biscuits; everyone is sure theirs is the only real one out there. =) Here is the recipe I have used for ages. The cilantro and parsley can both be omitted, or you can use just one or the other. I use whatever I happen to have in the fridge.

Falafel
Epicurious / Yield: About 20 balls

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour or bulgur
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.

Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

(Instead of frying mine in oil, I drizzle oil in the bottom of a baking dish and then preheat it, along with my oven, to about 375. Then I let them bake for about 20 - 25 minutes.)

EDIT: Just wanted to add that I've substituted a can of garbanzo beans for the soaked dried ones with equal success.
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:04 AM   #3
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Thanks for the recipe. After a little research, I think I was actually served a "kibbeh" instead of a falafel and the spice was allspice. Thanks for the reply. I love falafels and look forward to trying your recipe
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:06 AM   #4
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Now you've got me curious! I'm off to see what Google has to say about "kibbeh"! =)
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:24 PM   #5
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''The other day I ordered a falafel and the majority of it was made from bulgar wheat. ''
I think most countries have some snack that is made by sticking stuff together, rolling it into balls, and then frying. I have never seen something called falafals made from bulgar wheat, but I suppose there is no reason why fried snacks cant be made from bulgar wheat too.

Here are the spices I put in falafals:
Garlic
Cayene pepper
Cummin
Parsley
Salt
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:37 AM   #6
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I was just in Philadelphia and went to a little, hole in the wall, falafel place with my son, he loves the place. I have to say I have never liked falafel, never. After I had eaten falafel sandwich in that place, btw it is called “Mama’s”, I totally changed my opinion. It was amazing. So I have been digging for a recipe on Internet. Honestly the only differences I see in recipes are of course seasoning, which is very personal anyways and doesn’t affect the technological process, but some recipes call for baking soda and some do not. Any clues for why the soda is used?
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
...a little, hole in the wall, falafel place...
I am going to Israel in a couple of months. A guy who lives there sent me a list of the best falafel places in each city. He said, the names of them are in Hebrew, so hard to recognise, so he wrote the pronunciation down and told me if I say it, an Israeli person will point me to it.

I might even do a falafal tour of Israel. :) Well, I will certainly visits some of the places on the guys list anyway. :)
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:12 AM   #8
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I'm jelous, I would love to go back for a visit.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:14 AM   #9
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Really? There are not takers on baking soda issue?
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
I'm jelous, I would love to go back for a visit.
You are welcome to have a copy of my Falafal restaurant list if you do. And, anyone else going to Israel can have it too. Just let me know.
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