Friday, May 18, 2012

The Falafel Fail…Kind Of

I’ve always wanted a good falafel recipe. I love falafel, and it’s an interesting non-meat option to serve my veg-centric friends (and feed myself and my fiance when we’re avoiding carnivorous endeavors like we were here).

I found a recipe for Edamame Falafel with a Spicy Coriander Sauce in Everyday Food magazine that seemed simple enough. It called for dried chickpeas plus edamame along with cumin, parsley and lemon juice. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but used canned chickpeas instead of dried.

I know falafel is typically fried and this recipe called for frying, but I was hoping I could try some alternative cooking methods in addition to the deep frying. I wanted to follow the recipe properly, so I went ahead and heated an inch or so of oil in a skillet, and dropped in about 6 small falafel disks, reserving the rest of the dough for other preparation methods. After about 8 minutes in the oil, the falafel fell apart completely! It was an epic falafel fail! Literally the chickpea-edamame mixture disintegrated in the oil. It was completely ruined.  I was totally bummed, and worried that I hadn’t gotten the oil hot enough, or perhaps it was the shape of the falafel — I’d flattened the balls into disks to fit in pitas better. I also had guessed on the conversion between dried chickpeas and canned chickpeas, so perhaps that was it.

I ended up pan-frying the remaining falafel disks in a non-stick skillet in just a bit of oil until they were slightly browned on each side and heated through, and that actually worked just fine. There was no need to finish them in the oven as the skillet heated them sufficiently. Out of the ashes rose a pretty tasty falafel meal, with quite a few left over I enjoyed over salad greens. Without deep frying them they were a bit dry but the spicy coriander sauce the recipe called and some fresh salad greens definitely helped with that.

Once I sat down to write this post, I found other bloggers had had this exact same trouble with this recipe! The fellas from The Bitten Word in D.C. experienced dissolved falafel, as did a blogger from Maine who the Bitten boys linked to.

Vindication! The moral of the story, it turns out, is add an egg to bind it all together. I’ll try that next time, though I did like the effect — and fewer calories — pan-frying had. Enjoy!


Edamame Falafel with Spicy Coriander Sauce

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes

A healthier take on falafel.


2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
10 ounces frozen edamame, thawed
3/4 cup parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
coarse salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
vegetable oil
pita, salad greens, cucumber and any other toppers you'd like

Spicy Coriander Sauce
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
a bit of lime juice


Combine ingredients for Spicy Coriander Sauce and chill until ready to use.

In a food processor, pulse chickpeas, edamame, parsley, cumin and salt until well chopped. Mix in yogurt, mayo, coriander and cayenne. Roll mixture into about 20 balls.

Heat nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add enough oil to coat bottom. Add falafel balls, several at a time, flattening as you add them to the pan so they fit in the pita better. Cook until browned, then flip. Repeat with remaining falafel balls.

Assemble pitas with coriander sauce and your favorite toppers, and enjoy!

Adapted from Everyday Food magazine



3 Responses to “The Falafel Fail…Kind Of”

  1. 1

    Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen — May 18, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

    Annakate, this is such an inspiration. I love your sauce, I’m sure there are many other uses for that flavor palette, too. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    • Annakate replied: — May 19th, 2012 @ 7:41 am

      Thank you, Melissa!! I kind of like when things don’t work out exactly. I certainly learned a lot about falafel in the process! Thanks for the comment!!

  2. 2

    Peggy — May 19, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

    Well..I do love falafel and I THOROUGHLY enjoyed your commentary…

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