Do you love the herby heartiness of a great falafel? So do we! There’s an endless variation on size and style and that’s part of why we love them (also up there on our ‘reasons why’ – they are a great excuse to dip, drizzle and wrap and roll!)
Here are some of our favourite version of this Middle Eastern classic.
This recipe for chickpea and broad bean falafel comes from Sydney chef Michael Rantissi, who sure knows how to make a good one. This recipe comes from Falafel for Breakfast, the cookbook by Rantissi and Kristy Frawley that shares the deeply popular food served at Kepos Street Kitchen. And that name? “It reflects my mum’s incredulity that bacon-and-egg and toast-and-Vegemite-loving Aussies were coming to Kepos first thing in the morning and ordering falafel,” he writes in the book. Serve ’em up with his green tahini.
Broad beans are at the heart of this falafel, served wrapped up with pickled turnip, dill pickles and tahini sauce (the recipe includes instructions for those, too, if you’d like to DIY all of it – you’ll need to plan a few days further ahead in that case).
“These falafel are less traditional and more Sabrina style – packed with herbs and bolstered with extra ﬂavour – but the results are every bit as satisfying,” says award-winning Persian chef Sabrina Ghayour of her take on the classic. Serve hot in pitta bread with pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, Greek yoghurt and chilli sauce.
“This Middle Eastern, vegetarian twist on an old English classic makes perfect picnic food as they’re just as good eaten at room temperature as they are warm,” says Joel Kenny of this creation.
Taking inspiration from Italy’s arancini, Adrian Richardson stuffs falafel with boconcini in this recipe. Serve them up with a tahini, yoghurt and chilli sauce and you’ve got yourself a magic combination of crips falafel, melted cheese and perky sauce.
The falafel family tree has lots of branches, as this raw version shows. This recipe comes from blogger Renee Byrd, who says she likes to eat these as snacks, as well as putting them in wraps or serving them up with her quinoa ‘risotto’.
Falafel is traditionally deep-fried, but our Bakeproof columnist Anneka Manning came up with an oven version. Team these lighter baked falafel with a fresh herb and tomato salad and tasty tahini dressing,
Love falafels, love waffles? Embrace both in the fa-waffle. Some versions get stuffed, some get stacked. Read more about this combo here, and then try Desiree Nielsen’s version: she serves her falafel waffles with tahini sauce and grapes for an unusual sweet-savoury combo, but you can put any twist you like on them.
“These little fritters are like a light and fresh spring falafel. They are soft and spiced, served with a slightly hot sesame dipping sauce,” says O Tama Carey of her recipe for broad bean and chickpea fritters with roasted sesame seeds.
The song-n-dance falafel
After a falafel-eating tour of Amman in Jordan during his visit for Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook, including an intriguing beetroot falafel, Ainsley is so inspired that he breaks into dance and song when he later cooks up his own take on this Middle Eastern favourite (you can catch that episode on SBS Food, 8.30pm Sunday 18 October, and then on SBS On Demand).
We can’t match his singing dancing style but we asked the ever-happy chef for his best falafel-making tips: “You want your falafel to be light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside and it’s always best to use dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight. Use damp hands to shape your falafel and chill them for at least 45 minutes before frying. Also, make sure your oil is not too hot when frying because it can cause the falafel to break,” he tells us. Look out for him making his sesame-crusted falafel in the show, or try his recipe for low-fat falafel.