Playing Goldie Falafel

Using dried chickpeas in this falafel recipe from the cookbook Israeli Soul leads to a texture and flavor that you just won't get from their canned equivalent.

Michael Solomonov, chef at Zahav in Philadelphia — a must-stop for Rach when she's in town — and author of Israeli Soul, likes his falafel not too spicy so that it lets the subtle flavor of chickpeas come through: "Herbs and vegetables help keep the falafel balls moist, and pulsing in a food processor creates the crispy exterior."

Watch Michael make these falafels in the video above — and build a pita sandwich with his homemade sauces Harissa Tehina and Tehina Ketchup.

Adapted from ISRAELI SOUL: EASY, ESSENTIAL, DELICIOUS by Michael Solomonov. Copyright © 2018 by Michael Solomonov. Used with permission by Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight and drained
  • Big handful fresh parsley
  • Big handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cold water, plus more as needed
  • Canola oil, for frying
Yield
Serves: 30
Preparation

Mix together the baking powder, salt, cumin and turmeric in a small bowl.

Layer half the ingredients in a food processor in this order: chickpeas, fresh herbs, vegetables, garlic, and the mixed dry seasonings. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order. Add the water and pulse until very finely chopped and the mixture holds together when pinched between two fingers. If necessary, add a bit more water and pulse again to get the right consistency.

Scoop the batter into a colander set over a large bowl to drain while you make the balls. Squeeze out the liquid from the batter with your hands until the dough stays together, then shape into 1-inch balls. Set the balls aside on a plate.

Heat a couple of inches of canola oil to 350˚F in a large pot. Lower the balls into the hot oil with a long-handled slotted spoon and raise the heat to high to maintain the temperature of the oil. Fry in batches for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the falafel balls are brown and crispy (but not burnt!).

Immediately transfer the falafel with a slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Serve hot.