These wonderful deep-fried chick-pea balls, staples of the Middle Eastern street…have become staples of the New York street as well! There are stands all over Midtown Manhattan selling thousands of them at lunch every day. Sometimes they can be dry and pebbly, but the following recipe gives you wonderfully moist falafel; sometimes they can be under-spiced or over-spiced, but the following recipe gives you a perfect balance of spice flavors and chick-pea flavors. You can eat them plain, with a fork…or you can place them inside pita, along with slices of onion and tomato, fronds of flat-leaf parsley, and a sauce of garlic-spiked yogurt. At the New York stands, the falafeliers also, on demand, drizzle hot sauce on these great sandwiches.
Makes about 24 falafel (good for 8 sandwiches or so)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 pound dried chick-peas, soaked overnight and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
3 green onions, chopped (white and green part)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
vegetable oil for deep-frying
1. In a small skillet, toast cumin and coriander over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, combine drained chick-peas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, green onions, salt and toasted spices. In a small bowl, stir together water, oil, egg, lemon juice, baking soda and hot pepper sauce. Add to food processor. Process mixture until almost smooth, this may take 2 to 3 minutes. If your food processor is small you may have to do it in two batches. Refrigerate mixture until chilled, about 1/2 hour.
3. In a large saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil to 365 degrees. Form chick-pea mixture into balls about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, 1/2 to 1 inch thick. Drop into hot oil, 3 or 4 balls at a time. Deep-fry about 3 minutes total, turning halfway through cooking time. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining patties, keeping the fried patties warm in a 250 degree oven until serving time.