Tag Archives: tahini sauce

How to make real falafel

11 Sep


Although the origins of falafel may still be in dispute, there is agreement on one thing: these vegetarian fritters are extremely tasty and very nutritious! They are very popular and virtually available every where from fast food outlets to the common supermarket shelf.

So how does one make a “real” falafel? For starters, try to avoid the dry mix that is sold in the supermarket. Adding falafel powder to water may sound appealing but it won’t give you crunchy falafel with a soft centre. To achieve that, all you need is rehydrated chick peas, fava beans and a food processor. Make up a large batch, separate into smaller portions, freeze and you’ll never get have to go back to the dry mix version.

Similar to most Arabic dishes, ratios can be adjusted to suit personal taste. Ask 10 different falafel connoisseurs for their recipes, you’d probably get 10 different recipes. However, one thing that doesn’t change is how falafel is served: pickles, salad and tahini sauce wrapped in pita bread. Savoury pickles include beetroot stained turnip, gherkin, mild long chilies and cabbage. Salad is usually shredded lettuce, tomatoes and chopped parsley. Leftover falafel can also be served cold for breakfast also with pickles and labna. (thickened yoghurt)

Below is my falafel recipe which borrows heavily from mum’s kitchen. Included below are some photos of the family table on Father’s Day. Yes, dad wanted falafel, not barbecued lamb nor seafood!

You’ll need to begin this recipe the day before.

Ingredients (makes about 40-60 small falafel balls depending on size)

  • 500g of dried chick peas
  • 500g of dried fava beans
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped roughly
  • 1 bunch of coriander, chopped roughly
  • 2 large white onions, peeled and dice roughly
  • 2 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp of ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp of sesame seeds (optional)


Soak the dried chick peas and fava beans in cold water, overnight.


Place drained chick peas, fava beans, parsley, coriander and onion in a food processor then process until smooth. You may need to add a little water if the mixture is too thick, dry or grainy. (I went a step further and used a hand grinder, very laborious but the texture was unmatched)


Scrape out mixture into a bowl then add coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and sesame seeds (optional). Mix until spices until well incorporated then rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Shape into small bit size patties and arrange on a plate then heat the oil, preferably canola or rice bran oil.


Deep fry or shallow fry about 6 at a time. (Don’t overcrowd the pan or they won’t flash fry and probably turn out soggy)


Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining falafel.



Leftover falafel may be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge when ready to use. Once defrosted, use within 2 days and don’t refreeze again as it is uncooked!

Father’s Day Lunch 2013

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I’ve used a 50/50 chick peas to fava beans ratio but the one above used a 70/30 ratio. Note the bright yellow tone from the higher chick pea content?

Back to the kitchen…

28 Aug

IMG00627-20120724-2230 It’s not difficult to notice that I have been absent for a while. No I have not abandoned my blog or lost interest in blogging; I’ve spent the last 7 weeks in the land of the Kama Sutra (India of course). Home was a 5 star hotel with multiple restaurants, bars, night club, lounges, delicatessen, beauty parlor, hair salon and a mini shopping plaza with all the expensive labels. But sadly no kitchen.

Some may be wondering why I would need a kitchen when I’m staying in a luxurious hotel? The answer is easy. Satisfaction. Even with a room service menu that spans at least 3 continents, there is still nothing more satisfying than to source your own ingredients, prepare and create.

Whilst I did have the opportunity to taste some amazing food outside the hotel like creative dim sums at Yauatcha, hand-made pasta at Mia Cucina and street food around the Mohammed Ali Road area, I missed being in the kitchen. I still yearned for cooking even though I was immersed in the best Indian cuisine like paneer tikka, dhal makhani, achari tikka, Hyderbadi biryani, dosas, idlis, etc. (trust me the list is much longer)

I did have one opportunity to bash around in the kitchen whilst in Mumbai but that wasn’t without its own challenge. After much anticipation and venturing the streets to source the freshest ingredients, we discovered that the 2 burner was out of gas. So with a little improvisation we exploited every feature of a toaster oven and a petite kitchen (including borrowing a few utensils from the friendly neighbours) to create a delightful dinner.

We prepared an arugula salad with goat cheese, freshly grated beetroot and dressed it with olive oil; vege burgers with a patty of shredded carrot, zucchini, chickpeas, coriander, layered with herbed eggplant slices, a few leaves of cos lettuce and smothered with tahini sauce; and, rosemary potato wedges. It ended up being one of the most satisfying meals: simple to make, tasty and devoured in great company.

So now that I’m back, what’s to come? Several posts including: “I lost my appetite at Noori Mohammed Hotel”, “How to make real falafel” and “Quails the easy way”. So stand by. For now, I’ll leave you with a few photos taken with a Blackberry camera (soon to be overshadowed by the Canon G12).

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