These make great nutritious little snacks, kids love them (I find the addition of peas makes them more appealing) and they’re easy to make. They’re not crunchy and dry like conventional falafels, but rather soft, so a little care is needed when cooking to avoid them breaking up.
You can experiment with what spices to add and the quantities, giving them more or less heat. I just leave out the chilli when making for my son, Little A.
You don’t really want to be frying the life out of these littIe things – they’re better nicely toasted. I can’t really bring myself to deep fry anything at home – partly because of the sheer faff of preparing and then disposing of oil, but mostly because of health reasons. We do own a deep-fat fryer – hubby decided to bring one home one day out of the blue – but it quickly got banished unopened to the shed!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to eating fried food when I’m out and about – especially at South Indian restaurants where they offer lots of traditional and delicious fried dumplings like vada. I just think having one in the kitchen would be a slippery slope – especially where my Indian dumpling-loving husband’s concerned!
These little falafels are best dry fried in a pan just to crisp them up and brown the outside, or else popped in a hot oven to achieve the same result. I’d also avoid shallow frying them as they soak up oil like a sponge and get too soggy.
Serve them with some cool raita and minty tabbouleh, or pop some into a flatbread or chapatti with some shredded lettuce and your dressing of choice.
Minty pea falafels
Ingredients (makes about 18 falafels)
2x400g tins chickpeas
One cup of cooked peas (from frozen or fresh)
Large handful of fresh mint
1 heaped tsp cumin
1 heaped tsp coriander
1 tsp grated ginger
1tsp cumin seeds – dry toast for a couple of minutes before adding
Half tsp red chilli powder (optional)
12 cloves of crushed garlic
¼ tsp turmeric
1 heaped tbsp gram flour
Salt to season
Put the onion, garlic, ginger, mint and spices into a food processor and mix until the onion is finely chopped. Add the peas, chickpeas, gram flour and salt and process until the mixture blends roughly together. You’re aiming for it to be half smooth and half chunky, with bits of pea and chickpea still visible.
Shape into small balls or flatten into patties, place on a flat tray and chill for at least an hour in the fridge. This helps them hold together better when frying.
To cook, dry fry in a pan until the outer skins of the falafels are brown and crispy, or bake in an oven (around 180 degrees) for about 20 minutes. Eat hot or cold.
I’ve added this to the Cooking with Herbs monthly challenge, hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage.