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For optimum texture and flavor, use dried chickpeas, never the canned variety, to make falafel.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 8 hours or overnight
- 2 tablespoons fine grain bulgur
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- Pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- Pinch turmeric, or more to taste (optional)
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds (optional)
- Vegetable oil
Drain the chickpeas, then put into the bowl of a food processor and grind, scraping the sides with a rubber spatula as needed, until the chickpeas are the texture of cornmeal. Mixture should just hold together when pressed between your thumb and forefinger. Transfer the ground chickpeas to a large bowl. Add the bulgur, onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro, salt, cumin, coriander, baking powder, pepper, cayenne and, if you like, turmeric and cardamom seeds. Mix well, then stir in 2 tablespoons water. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 to 60 minutes.
Pour oil into a medium pot to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, with wet hands, shape the chickpea mixture into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch balls. Working in batches, fry the falafel until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. To serve, stuff 3 to 4 hot falafels into a pita half and spoon some zehug yarok (green hot sauce) and some tahini over the top, if you like.
For sesame falafel, spread about 1/2 cup sesame seeds on a dish. Flatten the chickpea mixture balls, made according to the recipe above, into patties, then gently press both sides into the seeds. Proceed with recipe, frying for only 2 to 3 minutes. For Egyptian ta'amia, substitute dried fava beans for dried chickpeas and proceed with recipe.
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Recipe reprinted by permission of World Publication, LLC. All rights reserved.
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