We’ve all been to the takeaway on a Friday or Saturday night in our blissful, hungry, after-the-pub or rock show moments. We’ve all hit the kebab stand or the middle eastern place in the middle of the night. As we stand cradling the foil wrapped object of our desire, cucumber sauce dripping down our chins, mouth full of onion, falafel, and tahini, we mumble to our friends, “This is so good! Why do I only have this when I’m drunk after the bar?”
As it turns out, you can recreate this shared food experience at home, because it’s pretty easy. Not only do you not have to precook the beans, there’s not even really a recipe to it. Feel like including some parsley? Do it. Don’t have any onion? Skip it.
Simply soak some chickpeas in water over night, drain and tip into a food processor. Add in any combination of ground cumin, ground dried ginger, tumeric, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, parsley to taste. Process until mixture resembles coarse corn meal or polenta. Empty into a bowl and sprinkle with a couple of very small handfuls of all purpose flour. Mix with your hands until incorporated. Squeeze the mix together; if it holds its shape when you take your hands away, it should be good. Shape the chickpea mixture into patties just smaller than your palm. Set them gently on a plate.
Heat about an inch and a half of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat (to about 325 or 350 F, if you’re measuring). Using a thin spatula, lower the patties in small batches into the hot oil and cook for just about two minutes per side, turning only once. Remove to a paper towel to drain.
Serve with a quick hummus (3 cups cooked chickpeas with the liquid, pureed in a blender or food processor with 1/4 to 1/3 cup tahini paste, two cloves of garlic, some onion, a bit of olive oil, a couple of shakes of cumin, salt and pepper) and some warm pita and spicy onion to recreate the late night feeling.
Or, move in a more posh direction and top a falafel with some cucumber yogurt and a curried scallop as a first course.
Playlist included Leh Jani, by Omar Souleyman. Because this is what they’re rocking out to in the back of the falafel shop.