Homemade Falafel - A Vegetarian Treat
Most of the falafel recipes I've seen call for grinding the beans and herbs together in a food processor. Lacking a food processor, I use my blender and a lot of patience, someone just gave me a meat grinder and I suspect that would work better. If you are very patient (or desperate), you could chop them very finely with a knife. Add 2 tablespoons cumin (ground or toasted seeds), a teaspoon of baking powder and salt and pepper to taste. If the resultant mixture is overly crumbly and doesn't stick together, you have two choices – you can chop it finer or mix in a small amount of bread crumbs until it does stick together. Form the dough into balls about the size of golf balls and then flatten slightly.
Heat about an inch of olive oil or other vegetable oil in a fairly deep frying pan. If you are using an electric fry pan, set it to just below 350 F. Otherwise, you want the oil hot but not smoking. Fry the falafel in a single layer for a few minutes on each side. They should be a nice golden brown on the outside and evenly cooked on the inside. Drain on paper towels and enjoy!
Note: If you are trying to avoid fried foods, you can place raw falafel patties on a cookie sheet sprayed with pan spray, spray the patties themselves lightly and bake until crisp on the outside. Depending on your oven, you may want to flip the patties half-way through. This doesn't give the same crispy texture as pan frying, but it is still tasty and satisfying.
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