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Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. It is a traditional Egyptian and Middle Eastern food, commonly served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as taboon; In Israel "falafel" frequently refers to a wrapped pita sandwich with falafel balls and topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce (zhug), and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be served as part of a meze tray.
The fritters are easy and rewarding to fry and they are vegetarian. Don’t be alarmed about not boiling the chickpeas before they are blitzed into a falafel mix. This is part of the process. When frying falafel, it is important that they get just the right amount of time in the oil. If you don’t have an appropriate thermometer, assess the temperature of the oil by frying one falafel ball as instructed, making sure it takes the specified amount of time to cook through completely but without burning on the outside.

Adapted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi


  • 1 ¼ cups/250g dried chickpeas

  • ½ cup finely chopped medium onion /80g

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon salt, or more

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • About 3 cups vegetable oil for deep-frying

  • One recipe Zhoug for serving (see Spice Mix recipe)

For serving in pita pocket:

  • Chopped salad (tomatoes, cucumbers) and shredded cabbage

  • Tahini sauce

  • Teaspoon of Zhoug


  1. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least twice their volume. Set aside to soak overnight.

  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas well and combine them with the onion, garlic, parsley, and cilantro. For the best results, use a meat grinder for the next part. Put the chickpea mixture once through the machine, set to its finest setting, then pass it through the machine for a second time. If you don’t have a meat grinder, use a food processor. Blitz the mix in batches, pulsing each for 30-40 seconds, until it is finely chopped, but not mushy or pasty, and holds itself together.

  3. Once processed, add the spices, baking powder, ¾-teaspoon salt, flour, and water. Mix well by hand until smooth and uniform. Cover the mixture and leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to use.

  4. Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed medium saucepan with enough oil that will allow the balls to float at 350 – 375º F.

  5. With wet hands, press 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the palm of your hand to form a patty or a ball the size of a small walnut (you can also use a wet ice-cream scoop).

  6. Deep-fry the balls in batches, until well browned on the bottom sides, then carefully flip the balls with a fork until browned on the other side, about 4 minutes total.  It is important they really dry out on the inside, so make sure they get enough time in the oil.

  7. Drain in a colander lined with paper towels.

  8. Season with salt and serve at once with tahini and/or hummus and Zhoug on the side.

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