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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Made falafels for the first time yesterday using one of the All-stars recipe from Foodnetwork.com. As I scanned the ingredients list, I could vaguely recollect having made something similar but could not put my finger on it. However once the fritters were ready, I took one bite and the truth dawned upon me. Nothing short of a bollywood potboiler from the 70's, it was a long separated sibling of our very own 'piaji'. The cliched story of two brothers one of whom grows up to be an upright police officer while his good-at-heart sibling lurks on the fringes of the underworld flashed in front of my eyes. Made with garbanzo beans/, the Falafel is spiced with ingredients that are indigenous to the Middle east while our Piaji is made with gram dal and used local spices. Check the recipe for Piaji (here).

While opinions vary on the texture of Falafel, it is agreed upon that it should have a crunchy exterior while retaining a moist and fluffy core. The texture of the chickpeas paste plays an important role in this. Too coarse and it falls apart while too fine a paste makes the falafels dense. To achieve the right texture I made a fine paste out of half of the beans while leaving the other half coarse. The baking powder should always be added just before frying as it gets activated as soon as it comes in contact with water. The refrigeration time is also crucial as it allows the flavours to blend in. 

It is served with tahini sauce, a sesame-olive oil paste with lots of lime added for tang.

Read on for my recipe -

Preparation Time - 30-35 mins 

Ingredients - 

For the Falafel -
  • 1 cup dry garbanzo beans/kabuli chana
  • 1/2 of a small onion
  • 2 fat garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp coarsely grounded pepper 
  • 1-2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley (use the fresh flat-leaf parsley if you get it)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour/maida
  • 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • salt to taste
  • oil for deep frying
For the Tahini sauce -

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • salt to taste
  • a dash of pepper (optional)
  • a bit of minced garlic (optional)

For making the Falafels -

Preparation - Soak the beans for 12-15 hours. Drain all the water and dry with paper towel before transferring to a food processor.

Pulse 2-3 times and remove half of the still coarse paste. Add all the remaining ingredients except baking powder and oil to the food processor. Pulse till everything is incorporated into a smooth paste. Add the coarse paste removed earlier and mix thoroughly using a spatula.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (atleast) before using ( can be kept upto 48 hours ). Remove and add the baking powder.

Cooking - Heat oil in a wok. Once it reaches optimal temperature (not too hot nor too cold), make small balls out of the mixture and flatten them slightly. 

Let them into the oil, 3-4 nos at a time and fry till they turn brown on both sides. It usually takes about 6-7 minutes per lot. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

To make the Tahini sauce

Roast the sesame seeds on a low flame till they start to pop. Keep aside to cool down.

Transfer to a food processor and blitz to powder them. Add the olive oil, cool water, lemon juice and salt. Buzz to get a smooth sauce. Add more water if the consistency is still thick. If it is too thin, stir in some hung curd.

Serve with the Falafels.


  1. Great preparation.. i'm a great fan of north foods and recipes...
    Info is awesome indeed...

  2. Love to munch some, they are dangerously addictive.

  3. Looks so yummy... Very crispy...


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