With the 2016 presidential elections heating up and recent political divisiveness on campus, it’s nice to find something that everyone can agree on, like the need for immigration reform, the need for better management of public transit in LA, and the deliciousness of falafel. In one bite, falafel gives you access to a healthy dose of protein and fiber and a claim to international collaboration with its Middle Eastern origins. It also gives you access to the hot debate over who invented falafel and whether the Lebanese Industrialists’ Association has standing to sue Israel for copyright infringement over falafel pride.
The following recipe may not be authentic (I make no claims to Mizrahi ancestry and my ancestors left the Middle East some centuries ago; the recipe also doesn’t call for deep-frying), but it is delicious and easy to prepare.
Yields about 6 servings
4 cups chickpeas, cooked and drained
4 tbsp chickpea flour (see note)
5 tsp cumin
2 tsp cilantro
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 bunch of parsley, cleaned and checked for insects as needed, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 ½ tsp salt
½ – 1 cup water (as needed)
1 jumbo egg
1 tbsp lemon juice
Blend or process until a paste forms. Roll into balls about one inch in diameter and bake at 350°F or sauté on medium heat, turning to brown evenly. Serve warm in a pita with hummus, Sriracha or other hot sauce, and/or shredded cabbage or Israeli salad.
Note: Chickpea flour can be made by pulverizing dried chickpeas to a powder in a blender. Excess flour can be stirred into soups as a thickener (and additional source of protein and flavor), used as a coating for savory items such as tofu or meat, or substituted for a flavored gluten-free flour in lots of cases.