I can see you doubting whether kidney beans would really work as the base of falafel but just trust me, give these a go and I guarantee you will be joining me in falafel heaven!!! Falafel are a staple in my diet, there’s not a week that goes by without me munching on these dense, herby balls of goodness, especially as they are just so versatile. I eat them in wraps or sandwiches, in a salad with couscous and veggies, in a tomato sauce with pasta as a meat free alternative to meatballs, or with a big bowl of dahl and rice, I’m also a sucker for just dunking them straight into houmous.
Seeing as I am endlessly buying falafel I thought it was time I tried making a homemade version especially as so many shop bought versions are deep fried, thus not being the healthiest food to rely on living off. I will admit I was skeptical that I wouldn’t be able to create a recipe that is as good as the traditional authentic versions but I insisted I persevere. So here I am after many trials and tribulations I have hit the jackpot and am once again addictively gorging on my essential sustenance.
I recommend toasting your spices as their flavours seems so much more vibrant and pronounced in food when freshly roasted. The kidney beans lap up the spice mix perfectly giving them an earthy warmth. To stop this being too overwhelmingly dry which I find occurs in cooking when using this combination of ingredients I have a vital secret ingredient… RAISINS!!! When pureed their syrupy sweetness hugs the robust spices balancing their heat harmoniously. The final addition of lime zest accentuates all the flavours and ensures these falafel stay light and fluffy.
This recipe is a bit time consuming but, ultimately the process is simple. So go get a’rollin’ and you will never look back at another shop bought falafel again!
(This recipe makes approximately 18 falafel)
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 50g raisins
- 65g (gluten free) wholemeal bread (toasted)
- 35ml oil
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
- x3 garlic (finely chopped)
- tin kidney beans
- zest of 1 lime
1. Dry fry the spices over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and then grind them to a powder using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Meanwhile, put the raisins in a small bowl, pour boiling water over them and then place a plate on top and set aside for 10 minutes. Whilst waiting blitz the toasted bread to crumbs in a processor. Tip the crumbs into a large bowl, drain the raisins of left over liquid and then whizz in the processor to a puree, before decanting into the large bowl with the bread crumbs.
2. Heat 20ml of oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and fry until the onions are translucent and soft. Lower the heat to its minimum and add the spices and beans, leave the mixture to cook for 1o minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally. Then mash the mixture with the back of the spoon before adding the mush to the large bowl of crumbs along with the remaining 15ml oil and lime zest. Mix well until everything is thoroughly combined.
3. Preheat the oven to 160 or 155 degrees for fan assisted ovens and place greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Spoon 3 teaspoonfuls of the mixture into your palm, squash the mixture and roll it into a ball (mine were slightly smaller than a golf ball). Place on the baking tray and then repeat with the remaining mixture. Bake the falafels in the oven for 30 minutes, you will need to turn the balls over every 10 minutes to stop the bottoms getting really brown. Once baked you can serve them hot or cold. To store them make sure they have thoroughly cooled before placing them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.