A Chef’s Guide: Tips for Making Authentic Falafel at Home

Making authentic falafel at home can transport you to the bustling streets of the Middle East with just a bite. This popular Mediterranean dish, beloved for its crispy exterior and flavorful herb-packed interior, is surprisingly simple to craft with the right techniques and ingredients.

Choosing the Right Ingredients for Falafel

The key to authentic falafel lies in its base—chickpeas or fava beans. For the best texture and flavor, use dried chickpeas soaked overnight, not canned, as they offer the necessary sturdiness and absorb spices better. Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and dill are essential for that vibrant, fresh taste that distinguishes homemade falafel from store-bought versions.

Mastering the Perfect Falafel Mix

Once you’ve soaked your chickpeas, blend them with onions, garlic, and your fresh herbs until the mixture is coarse, not pureed. The right consistency is crucial; if the mix is too fine, your falafel might become too dense. For seasoning, a blend of cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper is traditional. Some chefs like to add a pinch of cardamom or a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an extra layer of flavor.

Cooking Techniques That Make a Difference

When it comes to cooking falafel, the temperature of the oil is vital. It should be hot enough to ensure a crispy exterior without absorbing too much oil. A test piece can help gauge whether the oil bubbles around it, indicating it’s ready. Fry in small batches to keep the oil temperature steady. Remember, good falafel should be crispy on the outside and tender but cooked through on the inside.

To serve, falafel is typically nestled in a pita bread with salads, pickled vegetables, and drizzled with tahini sauce. However, it’s versatile enough to be featured in salads, wrapped in flatbreads, or eaten alone with dips like hummus or tzatziki.

Embracing these tips will help you master the art of making authentic falafel at home, allowing you to bring a taste of Mediterranean cuisine into your kitchen. Not only will you impress your family and friends, but you’ll also enjoy the process of crafting this beloved dish from scratch.


Learn More

Falafel Festivities: Celebrating Mediterranean Culture Through Food

Mediterranean Street Food: The Enduring Popularity of Falafel