In Which I Explain How to Make Kick-Ass Felafel
Alright, here’s my tried and true recipe for Kick-Ass Felafel. First, buy some canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas for those of you not in the northwest united states.) CANNED people. I’m sure there are some of you out there who are thinking, look, I know how to cook garbanzo beans from dry to perfectly cooked on my stove. I don’t need canned. Well, to you I say: CANNED. We’re clear on that now, right?
Okey-dokely, now that you’ve got your two cans of CANNED garbanzo beans, empty them out into a colander in the sink. Rinse them (and recycle the cans, really, it’s for the Earth. And your conscience.) Once rinsed put them in a big bowl. Then get out your biggest, baddest, hand held potato masher and get to mashing. Mash them hard. Remember that the beans have a tough, fibrous outer skin. The purpose of the mashing is to explode the soft inner bean out of the tough outer skin.
Now that you’ve mashed for a few minutes (and maybe your arms hurt a little, depending on your arm strength and extreme knitting regimen,) get out your favorite food processing gadget. Me? I have a little tiny cuisinart with a sissy blade. But it works. Put the beans in the food processing gadget and process the shit out of them. Return them to bowl. Alright. Now we’re going to add a few things to the mix. First is the scallions/green onions/spring onions (whichever) that you have pre-chopped into little pieces. What? You missed that part? Okay, go back to the beginning and Chop your onion of choice. And while your at it, de-skin about six healthy cloves of garlic. That’s right. SIX HEALTHY CLOVES. We like our garlic around here at chez Burns, and soon, you will too. Alrighty then. Now, you’re going to add the green onions and the beans and the garlic back into the food processing gadget. Then add some oil. The kind of oil doesn’t really matter, other than it should be something either unflavored (like vegetable oil) or subtly flavored (like virgin or extra virgin olive oil.) How much? Well I would say about three or four dollops for the whole thing. If your food processing gadget won’t hold the whole mess at the same time, then I recommend a dollop per batch. The whole point here is to add just enough lubrication so that the felafel mix will turn into something more akin to pesto than to bread crumb mix. Okay, now process the shit out of the whole thing again. Lastly, add the spices: a healthy dose of cumin, a little bit of turmeric (mainly for color), a healthy dose of cayenne and kosher salt.
Look at your mix. Is it just this side of pesto-texture? Or is it still bread crumby? If it’s just this side of pesto texture, then you’re good. If it’s bread crumby, you need more oil. If it’s sloppy, gooey and pasty, then you need some flour, stat!
Okay, now that your mix is the right texture, it’s time to make a decision. Many recipes, at this point, would instruct you to stick the mixture in the fridge for upwards of an hour to give it a chance to cool and become less sticky. DON’T DO THAT. THAT IS DUMBASS. Now that you’ve made that very difficult decision (congratulations!) it’s time to make the felafel patties. Flour up your hands real good (the mix is sticky!) and make little patties, using up all of the mix. Personally, I make flat patties, about the size of my palm. By the way, you will need to reflour your hands frequently.
Once the patties are made then you fill your 12" cast iron frying pan with enough oil (I use peanut oil) to almost cover the patties, and turn the stove up to about medium-high. The goal here is to get the oil to about 365 degrees. This will require two things: first, patience, it takes a little while before the oil will reach that temperature, and second, a deep fry or candy thermometer. Or you can do like I do, and watch the oil until it looks hot enough, and throw a couple little drops of flour into the oil. If the flour sizzles, the oil is ready.
When the oil is ready you deep fry the felafel until they’re golden brown and delicious. Serve with pita and tzatziki. Or hummus. Or babaganouj. Or just eat them all by themselves.