Falafel

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My first attempt at falafel! I think it went pretty well. It was easier than expected; its reputation as a difficult food to make probably just translates as time consuming. The good news is that much of that time has nothing to do with cooking. You just have to remember to soak the dry chickpeas over night, and make the dough early enough that it has some time to set in the fridge. The time you spend actually making the falafel is similar to what you would spend on any other meal.

I was happy I used dry chickpeas (avoid canned), and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that after soaking overnight, the chickpeas required no additional cooking before being turning into dough. I made the dough in the food processor by pulsing, adding flour to the chickpea mix a tablespoon at a time until it was only somewhat sticky and held together. I did not puree the dough at any stage, as specified by the recipe, which resulted in a less gummy, more textured falafel. I put the dough in the fridge on a plate covered with plastic wrap for the afternoon, about 3 hours.

To fry the falafel, I used an electric skillet with just a 1/2 inch of olive oil. I heated it to 375 as called for in the recipe, but occasionally turned it down to 350 when the falafel seemed to be cooking too fast. Because I used such a thin layer of oil, it was necessary to make relatively small falafel balls (about 1.5 T of dough each) so they would cook through. The falafel came out tasty and quite crispy. The falafel did not use much oil; I was left with almost as much oil as I had started with.

I served it in falafel plate style with baba ghanouj, hummus, and tabbouleh. (All homemade, of course!)

You can find the recipe I used here:
My Favorite Falafel Recipe
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/My-Favorite-Falafel-231755

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