I can’t take credit for today’s creation, as there’s nothing new about falafel or, for that matter, falafel waffle.
Nonetheless, I happen to be a big fan of falafel. The best falafel, no doubt, is one that is made-to-order. The falafels come fresh out of the deep fryer, piping hot, crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. After they’ve sat around a while, falafels become noticeably dry and dense 🙁 Since I’m not a huge fan of deep frying at home — it can be messy — I’ve yet to attempt my own falafel. At some point my curiosity will surely get the better of me me and I will give it a try.
I’ve had falafel waffle (it’s fun to say, isn’t it?) on my to-do list for quite some time. So, I dusted off the ole waffle machine that was sitting idly in the basement and took it for a spin.
I had two approaches in mind for the falafel waffle: 1) using a traditional falafel mixture of dried chick peas soaked overnight, then pulsed in the food processor with herbs and spices and 2) using chickpea flour in place of dried chickpeas.
The former was my preference. The chickpea flour waffle didn’t crisp up much and was a bit rubbery. Although, after it came out of the waffle machine, I reheated it in a skillet with a little oil, which yielded a pleasantly crispy falafel waffle (an extra step, but well worth it). The dried chickpea waffle version possessed more of the taste and texture you would find in a traditional (deep-fried) falafel. I cannot lie, the deep-fried version is still my favorite. Really, who doesn’t like fried food?
From there you simply need to choose your preferred condiments. My favorite falafel accompaniments include:
- A simple tomato and cucumber salad.
- Zhoug: a green, herbaceous, spicy condiment with Yemeni roots. I added a couple Thai bird’s eye chiles for heat along with plenty of parsley, cilantro, and spices.
- Harissa: a North African chile paste featuring dried chiles, spices, and olive oil.
- Something pickled. Today, I prepared some pickled kohlrabi. Kohlrabi, a cultivar of cabbage, makes for a nice crisp, quick pickle.
- Tahini Sauce. Creamy, nutty, slightly garlicky dipping sauce.
makes 6 falafel waffles
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Soak the chickpeas 8 hours or overnight in cold water. Drain.
Combine the soaked chickpeas, onion, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until blended but not pureed. Add the parsley, cilantro, flour, salt, cumin, coriander, baking powder, black pepper, and cayenne and pulse until just combined.
Heat your waffle machine. Form the chickpea mixture into six patties, gently pressing together so they hold together. Place patties in waffle machine, lower the lid, and cook anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on your machine. The falafel is done when it is golden brown and crispy.
1 cup cilantro
1/2 cup parsley
2 to 3 jalapeno or serrano chiles or 1 to 2 Thai bird’s eye chiles
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3 tablespoons olive oil
Squeeze of lemon
Place the cilantro, parsley, chiles, garlic, water, cumin, cardamom, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Add the olive oil in a steady stream and continue to pulse until smooth, but slightly chunky. Add lemon juice to taste.
4 ounces dried chiles, such as guajillo, ancho, pasilla, chipotle); (used 3/4 guajillo, 1/4 ancho, and 1 chipotle chile for a little extra heat)
1 red bell pepper, roasted
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for topping
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt to taste
squeeze of lemon
pinch of cayenne (optional); depending on the heat of the dried chiles
Cut the stems off the chiles. Cut the chiles lengthwise and remove the seeds and veins. Place the chiles in a bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Pour the water over the chiles and let them steep for about one hour. Weigh down the chiles with a small plate to make sure they’re submerged. When the chiles are soft, drain well and discard the soaking liquid.
To roast the red bell pepper: Place the whole pepper over the gas range of your stove top, turning the pepper every few minutes until completely charred on all sides. Place the pepper in a paper bag for 5 to 10 minutes to help loosen the skins. The skins should slide right off. Slice open, remove the seeds, roughly chop.
Toast and grind the coriander/cumin/caraway seeds as follows: Toast the seeds in a dry skillet, over medium-low heat, swirling the pan until the mixture is fragrant and slightly darkened, a minute or two. Grind in a spice-grinder or by hand with a mortar and pestle.
Place the rehydrated chiles and the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Blend until they form a smooth puree. Place in a jar and cover with olive oil.
Quick Pickled Kohlrabi
1 pound kohlrabi, peeled, thinly sliced, then stacked and sliced into long strips; alternatively, julienned
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Place kohlrabi strips in a glass jar. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar or honey, salt, peppercorns, and chile flakes in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Pour over the kohlrabi. Let them to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
1/2 cup tahini
6 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 to 2 small garlic cloves, grated
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir until well combined.