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The Hirshon Falafel – طعمية and פָלָאפֶל

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 250g (8 ounces) dried chickpeas
  • 1 liter (slightly more than a quart) water
  • 4560ml (3-4 tbsp) bulgur wheat
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 75ml (5 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley
  • 75ml (5 tbsp) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) ground cumin
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground coriander seed
  • 5ml (1 tsp) baking powder
  • 5ml (1 tsp) salt
  • small pinch black pepper
  • small pinch Aleppo pepper
  • 5ml (1 tsp) Yemenite Hawaij spice mix (strongly preferred) or curry powder – add a pinch of freshly-ground cardamom seeds to either version
  • 4560ml gram flour (3-4 tbsp) (Besan, also known as gram flour, is flour made from “channa” or yellow dried chickpeas. It is readily available in Indian and Asian markets).
  • peanut oil for deep frying
  • 6 pita breads
  • Hummus, Mechouia (Tunisian Roasted Vegetable Salad), Tahini sauce, amba sauce, pickles or Lebanese pickled turnip, Zhoug and Tunisian Harissa sauce to serve alongside.
  • Tahini Sauce:
  • 2/3 cup (150g) tahini paste
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or microplaned
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Place the drained chickpeas, ground spices, garlic, onion, cilantro, and parsley into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine then feed through a meat grinder (preferred) or a food processor in small batches until everything has been ground.
  2. Go slowly — you’re looking for a somewhat coarse paste that is moist enough to hold together, but not so moist that it clumps up into a Play-Doh texture.
  3. Those little pebbles of chickpeas are what give the final falafel texture. Try pinching some of the mixture together. It should sort of stick together, but it shouldn’t actually be sticky.
  4. Add in the bulgur wheat, lemon zest and baking powder. Stir in 3 tablespoons water and leave it to stand for about 45 minutes.
  5. Stir the gram flour into the falafel batter, adding a little water if it is too thick or a little crumbled wholemeal bread or flour if it is too thin.
  6. Roll a small amount of the mixture into a walnut sized ball or a small patty with your hands. The mixture should hold together nicely and not fall apart.
  7. Using a wet tablespoon and wet hands, shape heaped tablespoons of the falafel mixture into 12-18 balls.
  8. Combine all the ingredients for the tahini sauce and let rest in the refrigerator.
  9. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a pan until it is hot enough to brown a cube of bread in 30 seconds (about 375 degrees Fahrenheit). Lower the heat.
  10. Add the falafel to the hot oil in batches and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove the cooked falafel with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper before adding more to the oil.
  11. Monitor the temperature of the oil and adjust the heat as needed to keep it between 350 and 375 degrees.
  12. Serve the freshly cooked falafel tucked into warmed pita bread with a spoonful of hummus, mechouia and a drizzle of tahini (or try Greek tzatziki sauce as an unorthodox but delicious alternative).
  13. Accompany with additional Harissa and zhoug, pickles, olives and salads.
  14. If you wish to prepare the falafel ahead of time, undercook them, then arrange them on a baking sheet and finish cooking them in the oven at 375ºF/190 Celsius for about 10 minutes.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours

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