How to Make Falafel

Here's how to make falafel from chickpeas or fava beans

Falafel is a popular dish in the Middle East and several nations claim credit for its origin. It's generally made from chickpeas (garbanzos) or fava beans (broad beans) - or even a mixture of the two. It is quite possible to use other beans instead of chickpeas and fava beans but the taste will be slightly different, of course.

Personally, I prefer falafel made from whole chickpeas rather than chickpea flour. The taste is superior and the texture is more interesting. Chickpea flour is widely available in Asian shops - usually it is called gram flour. Chickpeas can be bought dried or ready to use in tins.

How to make falafel:
How to cook chickpeas (or dried fava beans)

Put around a pound of dried chickpeas into a large pot and pour on enough boiling water to more than cover the peas. Wait for an hour. Better still, do this the night before you need the chickpeas for making falafel.

Now cook the chickpeas with a little salt until they are reasonably tender. This will usually take at least an hour, unless you use a pressure cooker. Drain them and they are ready to use.

Common falafel ingredients

All the following ingredients can be used in falafel making. You can experiment with different combinations. Obviously, you need a good base of ingredients which include fava beans and/or chickpeas in some form!

fava beans, chick peas, chick pea flour, brown rice flour, onion, spring onion, shallots, ground cumin, coriander and pepper, parsley, salt, garlic or garlic powder, cayenne pepper, fresh chilies

Some people use baking soda for making falafel. Add it to the chickpea or broad bean mixture before cooking - about 1 teaspoonful. It helps the pulses to cook more quickly.

Falafel recipe with broad beans or chickpeas

1 lb or 500 gm of broad beans or chickpeas, ready cooked

2 tsp of cumin powder

1 large onion, finely chopped

6 or 8 garlic cloves

large bunch of coriander leaves

large bunch of parsley leaves

sunflower oil or other oil for frying

salt and pepper


  • Mash or process the beans until they are a thick paste. Add the cumin and salt and pepper. Let the mixture rest for a while - about an hour.
  • Now chop the herbs and onion finely and add them to the mixture.
  • Form the mixture into small balls or flat cakes with your hand. They are best no more than about 1 cm thick - otherwise they take too long to cook inside.

(If the mixture does not stick together well in the pan, try adding a little brown flour. Some people do this anyway. A little egg will also help.)

  • Put the oil into a shallow pan and heat until almost smoking. Add the rissoles, two or three at a time with space between them. Fry for a few minutes and then turn them over with a fish slice or spatula. They should be crisp and brown. Cook the other side and drain them on kitchen paper or a clean towel. Keep them warm until needed.

Serve them with pita bread and salad and yogurt dips. Delicious!

How to make falafel - some optional additions

All the following ingredients can be used in making falafel.

Red pepper chopped finely, chili pepper in small quantities - de-seeded and finely chopped; spring onions or shallots, finely chopped.

It's worth learning how to make falafel because they are a highly nutritious and versatile dish. They are rich in protein which makes them especially valuable for vegans - and anyone who wants to lower their carbon footprint!

Falafel are delicious with home made bread or pita bread.


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How to Make Falafel

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On other pages

Here are more pages related to cooking with chickpeas and other pulses which may interest you:

Easy Fava Bean Recipes

Easy Chickpea Recipes for Vegetarians, Vegans and Meat-eaters

Using a Pressure Cooker to Save Energy in the Kitchen

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