Falafels are pretty much the most amazing chickpea based snack ever.* They’re cheap (although you will probably need a food processor or a blender) and the perfect snack food for revision – make them up into a lunch with pitta breads or salad, or fry a couple for a mid-afternoon brain snack. What’s more, both falafels and pittas freeze really well, so you could store some away for later on in exam season.
I’ve put parsley and coriander in my falafels, but you probably don’t need both herbs. I would suggest buying herb plants if you have a big supermarket near you rather than packets of herbs – they’re much more economical than packets, which are difficult to use up before they go off. Plus, it’s so fun to give them onomatopoeic names (I have fond memories of Boromir the Basil, Peeta the Parsley and Ptolemy the Tarragon) and they offer the perfect opportunity to procrastinate by watering them and even talking to them, Prince Charles-style, if revision is really driving you mad.
*Apart from hummus.
Falafels in Pittas
Makes around 18 falafels (about 4 or 5 lunches)
You will need:
2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, peeled and chopped very roughly (regular or red)
3-6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsps cumin
1-2 tbsp lemon juice or water
Handful parsley, chopped
Handful coriander, chopped
A healthy sprinkling of salt
3 tbsp oil (olive or vegetable)
Pitta breads (or salad)
Fillings ideas for pitta breads: Salad (tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion, lettuce), Hot sauce, Mayonnaise, Tahini sauce (for this you will need: tahini, garlic, lemon juice, parsley – instructions below), Yoghurt, Coleslaw, Chips (this last one might seem a bit crazy but they serve falafel pittas with chips at the bottom in Jerusalem and it genuinely is delicious, so if you have big enough pittas and some chips in the freezer, go for it!)
- Blend the chickpeas, onion and garlic together until they’re a nice, chunky paste. Blend in the cumin and the herbs.
- Add lemon juice or water, bit by bit, until the mixture sticks together in a satisfying way and it’s a lovely and smooth (if they’re too wet they be a little bit more tricky to fry). Season.
- To assemble the falafels, take a tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll it into a ball. Put a few tablespoons of flour into a plate or shallow bowl. Roll the falafel about in the flour until it’s covered, and set aside on a plate or baking tray. Only put flour on the ones you want to fry straight away- it’s better to freeze/refrigerate them without the flour on.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the falafels, turning every 3-5 until lovely and golden brown.
- To make the tahini sauce: crush several garlic cloves and mix in a bowl with half a teaspoon of salt. Add 3 tablespoons tahini and mix. Very gradually, add about 50 ml lemon juice, or a mixture of lemon juice and water, stirring constantly, until you get a lovely sauce at the consistency you want.