I have been craving a good falafel for a long time! Growing up in Kuwait (me the expat gulfie kid:)) I must have had countless number of falafels. Ask any adult now who lived as a child in the Middle East what their favourite foods are and they will tell you – Falafel, hummus, shawarma or fatayar. The major chunk of my childhood memories include food of the region;) This has resulted in my husband the Indian army brat to also appreciate falafel and hummus. His reaction when I used to buy supermarket falafel/hummus when we lived in London in 2012 was epic! ‘This tastes nothing like the Kuwaiti one’ he blurted put when he took a bite of the falafel then. In my mind I was ‘pleasantly smiling’ because it was exactly what I felt too…I patted myself for influencing him the right way:) I’ll reserve the shawarma story for another day!
Some trivia about the origin of ‘Falafels’ , the dish most probably has it’s origins in Egypt. The Egyptian Coptic Christians seem to be the pioneers of this chickpea based fritter as a meat replacement for Lent. As it’s the lenten season and if you’re off meat it’s a perfect replacement for your burger as well. Growing up at home in Kuwait my parents followed the lent religiously and falafel was always bought when my mother was tired to cook. The Syrian Orthodox Christians of Kerala too take their lent very seriously just like their Egyptian Coptic Orthodox brethren.
The quizzer in me was very happy to learn about that bit of history a few years back.
I have made falafel many times but I have never been satisfied with my attempts. Finally this time around I think I have cracked it and I thought why not do a gluten free version of the pita bread too! My falafel is based on chickpea because it is easily available here in India and I like it better than fava beans. The falafels are both baked and shallow fried in oil. I am not a fan of deep fried foods and I feel its better off shallow fried so you can actually taste the flavour of the fritter.
Servings – 12-13
- Chickpea/Kabuli channa – 250 grams soaked for 6 hours or overnight
- 1 chopped onion
- Handful of coriander and parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 3 Garlic pods
- 2 tsp potato or corn starch * to add bulk
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil + extra for shallow frying
- 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
- Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper or silicon mat and preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius or 375 degree Fahrenheit
- Drain the chickpea and wash them in many changes of water. Once the chickpeas are rinsed ( Do not use canned chickpeas you are not going to get a pliable mix because this requires uncooked but soaked chickpeas) grind all the ingredients together except the sesame seeds.
- Once you grind it you will get a soggy but pliable mix, roll the mix into tiny balls and coat them with sesame. If the mix is too dry the sesame is not going to stick to the mix.
- Gently flatten them and place them on the baking tray.
- Bake for 10 minutes
- Once you remove the falafel from the oven, shallow fry them in a pan so you get a nice crunch on the outside. Serve hot with hummus/pita or eat it on it’s own. It also adds a good protein addition to a veggie salad especially for the summers and if you want to avoid meat.
If you can’t tolerate sesame or have an allergy , you could try using a mix of flax seed and toasted brown rice. There will be a slight difference in taste though.
Gluten Free Pita Bread
I have to tell you that this tastes delicious but it does crack a little at the ends if not handled carefully.
- 175 grams rice flour
- 55 grams potato starch
- 55 grams tapioca flour/starch (its the same thing)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 11/2 tsp baking powder ( make sure its gluten free)
- 1 tsp dried herb mix (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 5 tbsps of neutral cooking oil
- 10 tbsps of dairy or non dairy milk
- Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper
- Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly, using a stand mixie or a handle held mixie.
- Then add the wet ingredients and the mixture will slowly come together to form a thick wet dough.
- Sprinkle rice flour on the counter or rolling board and divide into 7 – 8 pieces. Make it a ball and then roll it out and place it onto the prepared baking tray .
- Bake for 10 minutes and then take it out and let it cool down. Before serving just heat it o a skillet with a drizzle of butter/olive oil or ghee. Olive oil will give the Mediterranean taste. Its the kind of bread you can just eat on its own or dipped in hummus, tahini,toum or any other dip of your choice.
- I haven’t tried it with an egg re-placer but you could try using a flax or chia egg. The eggs give it structure and moisture and without it …I don’t think you will get the soft buttery flavour. Although I intend to give it a try as well and if I am successful I’ll update this recipe.
Hope you enjoy making this!
If you do make it and take a picture please tag me on Insta @jeeva_anna_george or on FB @GFIndia.
All my best! Stay healthy and hydrated,