One of my favourite eateries is L’as du Falafel, in the Marais District of Paris. The cue that stretches around the corner during lunchtime is a sure indicator of its popularity amongst the local French crowd. Whenever we go to this simple Middle Eastern eatery we get our pita-filled, perfectly fried falafel and walk down to the Place de Vosges where we find a shaded spot on the grass to eat like true locals. Believe me …. you will never forget this meal!

Falafel is plant-based, vegan fritters that are often served with hummus, tahini or smoked garlic sauce. It originated in Arabic countries and was traditionally made with fava beans. Falafel became the most popular street food in Israel when it was made with a chickpea-base and loaded into pita breads with vegetable pickles.

There are many recipes available but I prefer falafel made from chickpeas and deep-fried in oil, opposed to baking it in the oven.

One can of chickpeas will give you more-or-less 15 falafel, which leaves you with 5 falafel per person, in a decent sized pita bread. Feel free to double or triple the recipe.

1 can chickpeas, drained, patted dry with a clean tea towel and left to dry for 30 minutes or so

1 onion, grated

30ml parsley, finely chopped

5ml baking powder

10ml ground cumin

2,5ml garlic, minced

45ml flour

salt and pepper

Falafel can be made in a food processor, a blender, a hand blender or by hand. I make mine by hand as I love the unevenness in texture.

If you are using an electric appliance, simply add all the ingredients and pulse to break it up. You DO NOT want a paste. The mixture should be dry and crumbly.

When making by hand, add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and smash the chickpeas with a potato masher. Give the mixture a good mix-through.

Place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, so that it can firm up.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Use a 15ml measuring spoon and scoop up some of the mixture. Roll in a ball and place on the lined baking tray. Keep going until all the mixture has been utilised.

Heat some vegetable oil in a heavy based saucepan and bring it to about 170℃.

Place about seven Falafel balls into the oil and fry until beautifully golden.

Keep warm and fry the rest in batches.

Serve warm in a pita bread, salad and a sauce of your choice.

PS: I know this is very unusual but I serve mine with Greek Tsatziki sauce…..it is delicious!!!

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