DIY Falafel, An At Home Guide to Middle Eastern Street Food

30 January 2011 10:10 by SarainAkko

Don't let the pictures, or my husband's commentary, fool you. This was either the most ingenious use of DIY resourcefulness or a total fast food impostor recipe abomination. I lean towards best at-home lunch ever!

Although I live in a city bursting full of kosher schwarma shops that line the main street, there are precious few places that sell falafel.  Why is that you ask? I honestly have no idea.

If you live somewhere with a great discrepancy between available schwarma to falafel or just want to know the easiest way to make your own (healthier) falafel and also fix up your pita like a genuine street food experience in your home, this tutorial is for you.

 Super Amazing Falafel DIY Impostor Recipe

Step 1). The easiest way to get genuine falafel is to purchase a ready made powder which you can purchase here or if you're adventuresome you could grind your own chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and mix in spices like these found here. Both options will produce falafel and it all depends on your personal preference. Although I have ready mix waiting in my home (usually due to the family Etsy shop) I like doing things the long and tedious way (grinding beans and adding fresh spice).

Step 2). If you happen to keep a deep fryer around the house, you can toss in the tiny balls of mush chickpea mix till browned. If you are like me and terrified by the thought of cooking with vats of oil, it's time for the oven. This is where my husband and I disagree because I find no reason falafel needs to be a burning hot ball of grease whereas he absolutely believes this is exactly what falafel should be.

Step 3). Cut your pita in half, throw it in the over for just a minute to help it open up a bit if it is giving you trouble.

Step 4). Cut up your essential pita stuffers. At a genuine falafel street vendor you'd find a wide variety of salads and pickles but luckily I enjoy a simple palate of pickles, onions, Yemeni spice and humous (oddly enough, also ground chickpeas... there is a bit of redundancy in available ingredients throughout the Middle East).  

If it's fresh and a vegetable it also belongs in a pita. Middle Eastern fast food is not really as detrimental to your health as the American variety (minus the flaming balls of fried grease).

This is some serious humous. In Hebrew it's just called "spicey" and is found at our local grocer.

Step 5). Shove all your ingredients and freshly baked falafel into your pita. The most genuine Israeli falafel (in my mind) includes chips (french fries). Again, my aversion to deep fryers leaves my falafel just short of greatness until I realize I have potato chips. A totally reasonable compromise. 

Viola! Everything a genuine falafel should be; a mix of texture, extreme spice and stomach soothing fresh veggies. Not too healthy but not a heart attack in a bun. I highly recommend giving this a try at home.

6 Response to "DIY Falafel, An At Home Guide to Middle Eastern Street Food"

  1. Dori Streit Says:

    those falafel look very very tasty. i think the hummus would probably give me heartburn (but what doesn't these days), but i think it would be just as good with some garlicky hummus from my fridge. you have inspired me try grinding instead of just missing louie's falafel at machane yehuda.

  2. SarainAkko Says:

    Heartburn and preggers go together like hummus and jelly. Totally unpleasant but entirely natural.

  3. Lisa Says:

    This looks fabulous! I've been having major cravings for falafel and middle eastern food. We have a great place nearby that makes it but I've never made my own. Definitely need to try it one day!

  4. SarainAkko Says:

    Lisa, you should give it a try. If you get really ambitious with the falafel making you can add crushed garlic into the middle of each ball. It makes it way superior to the stuff you normally find mass produced out of a bucket of mix.

  5. creativejewishmom/sara Says:

    Falafel in the oven, brilliant! I never make falafel because i totally agree with you regarding vats of oil, but I'll be the oven version is a great substitute, served of course with my whole wheat pitas! How long did you bake them for? Thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday, all acts of creativity welcome!

  6. SarainAkko Says:

    I can't say exactly how long in the oven but they won't brown as clearly as when fried. You might need to lift the edges to make sure it's browned underneath and cooked through solid (you'll know when it isn't quite ready). Start checking them around 10-12 mins. depending on how large each one is. Enjoy!

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