Maybe we can call it a Roman Ghetto falafel impetus.
Lots of people don't know what to do with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) other than hummus. (It's difficult to force something to come to mind.)
And really, the texture of canned chickpeas all by themselves can leave something to be desired- just like that of lima beans.
I've never had fresh chickpeas, but I've heard they're quite different from the canned or dried variety. Maybe someday.
You won't see a lot of fried options here on this blog.
But, I do utilize a pot of hot oil every now and then, and it's probably not a bad thing.
The really nice thing is that these falafel cook pretty quickly. There won't be a lot of standing around or flipping on this one.
Once the gorgeous little fritters are cooked you could choose to do several things with them.
Eat with pita, as part of a salad, with hummus, tzatziki, tahini sauce, feta cheese, chili sauce (sriracha or harissa), tomato, cucumber, plain yogurt, lettuce (as a wrap or shredded in the pita), mint, extra parsley.
Today we just mixed plain yogurt with a little salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and dipped them.
I think falafel are just about the best thing you could do with a pound of chickpeas.
makes about 45
Based on Mark Bittman's recipe from How to Cook Everything
1 lb. (454 g) dried chickpeas
6 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly minced
1 medium onion, quartered and cut into large pieces
1 1/2 c (75 g) roughly minced parsley and/or cilantro leaves
1 1/2 t (4 g) ground coriander
1 generous T (7 g) ground cumin
1 t (4 g) cayenne pepper
1 1/2 t (11 g) salt
3/4 t (3 g) freshly ground black pepper
1 t (6 g) baking soda
2 T (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more to taste)
a pinch of cardamom
a little cinnamon
1 beaten egg (if the ground chickpea mixture is not holding together when it's moulded)
Neutral tasting oil (peanut, corn, canola, vegetable, grapeseed), for frying
Place chickpeas in a large pot and cover with about 3 inches cold water. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat, give the chickpeas a stir, and let them soak overnight.
Remove some of the cooking water and reserve. Drain the beans well and add them to the bowl of a large food processor (if yours is smaller, you may want to do this in a couple rounds).
To the beans, add the garlic, onion, and parsley/cilantro. In a small bowl, mix together the ground coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and baking soda. Add the spice mix to the food processor along with the lemon juice.
Pulse the whole mixture several times, until broken down and the chickpeas are about the consistency of finely chopped nuts. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and re-process as necessary.
If necessary, add some of the reserved water, a little at a time (no more than 1-2 T/15-30 ml total) and process until the falafel mixture holds together when moulded (if it holds together without the water, which it may well do because of the moisture from the other ingredients, don't add water as excess moisture may cause the falafel to fall apart when being fried).
Pour the mixture out into a large bowl and give a few stirs to make sure everything is fully incorporated.
Scoop up a generous 1 T (generous half-golfball) sized portions of the falafel mixture (mine were around 25 g in weight after frying). Shape into slightly flattened discs and set aside on a pan.
Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a tall stockpot over medium-high heat. When the mixture reaches about 350 F/175 C (or when it shimmers), carefully add some of the falafel. Do not crowd the pan as the temperature will drop and the falafel won't have room to cook properly (I cooked about 6 at a time). Let the falafel fry until a deep golden brown- it only takes a few minutes.
Remove the falafel to a paper towel lined sheet pan to blot excess oil.
Serve hot or room temperature.
Note: Once falafel are cool they can be frozen if well-wrapped. Frozen falafel can be and re-heated in a moderate oven until hot all the way through and the outside is crisp.