Never say you are done falafeling because somehow you end up back in the kitchen making Falafel 2.0. This time you suck it up, be patient, silently apologise to Ottolenghi for thinking he can’t cook and get the dried chickpeas and soak them overnight.
After I posted the recipe for Falafel with Spicy Tahini Yoghurt I received an email from Roger telling me that the falafel mix really needs the baking powder to make the texture a bit lighter. And that the White Bean Yoghurt Sauce he serves with the falafel he makes is better than the Tahini Yoghurt and I should really give it a try.
I also received a message from Annitta Basson mentioning that the reason I was having problems with the falafel disintegrating when frying was due to using tinned chickpeas. It will only work properly using dried chickpeas which has been soaked overnight. I then decided to get a packet of the dried legumes and try the original recipe from Ottolenghi again. I have to say I am so happy I did. The texture is a bit coarser which I really enjoyed and Roger’s white bean sauce is so much better than the Tahini Yoghurt.
I added an egg to the mixture and replaced the flour in the Ottolenghi recipe with chickpea flour. I did not add any chili to the mix as I was going to use some jalapenos I pickled a while back for a kick of heat on top of the falafel.
The only downside? Well you have to do some preplanning and control your falafel craving for a day if you do go the dried chickpea route. If not able to, the ones made with tinned chickpeas is a worthy contender! But add the baking powder as Roger says, because he knows what he is talking about!
- 250g dried chickpeas
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 1 and a half tsp ground cumin
- 1 and a half tsp ground coriander
- half a tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour
- half a tsp baking powder
- 750ml sunflower oil for frying
- White Bean Yoghurt
- 1 tin drained white beans
- 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
- qtr cup full fat plain yoghurt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbps olive oil
- sea salt and ground black pepper
- Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water at least twice the volume of the chickpeas.
- The next day, drain the chickpeas and place in a food processor with the onion, garlic, herbs, spices, salt and egg.
- Pulse the mixture until just finely chopped and combined (not mushy or pasty).
- Add the baking powder and chickpea flour and mix until combined.
- Place in the fridge for at least an hour.
- While the mixture chills make the white bean yoghurt by placing all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until well combined.
- Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan (to reach at least 5cm up the sides of the pan) and test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small bit of mixture into the oil. The mixture must start to sizzle and fry immediately.
- Wet your hands and press the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut.
- Fry in the oil in batches for 6 - 8 minutes until well browned and cooked through.
- Drain and serve while hot in a wrap or pita with the chopped tomato, parsley, sesame seeds and the white bean yoghurt.
- Adapted from Roger Jorgensen and Ottolenghi
Wine suggestion from Conrad Louw CWM:
Certain culinary creations will remain a challenge to pair wine with, such as anchovies, artichokes, asparagus – to start naming but a few. Another dish on that list is Falafel. But one of the great attributes of wine is – it can always be drunk with food, just apply your mind a bit. My short answer to a wine pairing would be a potent Sauvignon Blanc from a cooler region, such as those brilliant Sauvs from Elgin region, or the colder spots up the West Coast, or even Elim. The Ghost Corner Semillon would be one of my best choices to combat the challenge with winning laurels.
If you are stuck on a wine to match, here’s what you do: let us do a short breakdown of the ingredients of Falafel – mostly chickpeas with warm spices (cumin & coriander) as well as herbs, served with flavoured plain yoghurt on the side. If we had access to international wines, an Austrian Grüner Veltliner (spicy white) or a crisp floral lemony Albariño from Spain would be super magic.
But if your wine sourcing doesn’t reach that far abroad, I would try Viognier, another wine that pairs well with spicy dishes, creamy dishes, or absolutely anything, provided that it is a well-made Viognier. My choice would fall on Star Hill’s Viognier, regardless of the available vintage. If you have never heard of them – they are situated in a small high pocket of earth in the Barrydale area close to the Tradouw Pass (www.starhillwines.com – contact them – they are super friendly people and will even deliver if you ask them to).
If you enjoy dry Rosé wines like I do, Bramon’s Rosé (from Plettenberg Bay area) or any other well-made dry Rosé would be a super match.
So, to recap, I started off by saying Falafel is a tough dish to pair wine with, and look at all the options that popped up. Get 2 different bottles and pair them with this delicious nosh, and check your own taste buds to see which one works best. Always drink responsibly if you plan on driving afterwards.
Happy cooking – and sipping
Conrad Louw CWM