I love falafel. It’s my favourite fast food. When I visit a city for the first time I love hunting for the best falafel.
Two of my favourite falafel spots in Germany are:
- Düsseldorf, Carlsplatz: special sauces, huge, really yummy falafel balls
- Münster, Mr. Falafel: simple, honest, for purists
From time to time I also like to eat falafel at home. That’s kind of a problem for me because I don’t like deep frying. I’m afraid of the hot fat – being a wimp there, I know – plus it’s a greasy business and it becomes even more greasy when not having the right temperature. So I tried to bake and grill falafel which turns out to be a good alternative (although, it never gets as crispy on the outside as deep fried ones – you have to make sacrifices). But it’s also time consuming, especially when you soak and cook the chickpeas rather than using canned ones. Another chickpea dish I love is hummus. So when I got really hungry today and didn’t want to bake the falafel but didn’t want to eat hummus either I decided to make a raw falafel. They turned out as a mixture between hummus, falafel and raw food balls (if you ignore the sautéed onions).
For the raw falafel balls (for 1 persons) you need:
- 150 g cooked chickpeas (or canned)
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove garlic
- some parsley
- 1 tbsp Tahin
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- salt & pepper
I try to soak and cook chickpeas myself because I find they taste better that way. So if you think of what you want to cook in advance I encourage you to do so as well – it’s worth the effort. Soak the chickpeas overnight in about three times as much water as chickpeas and add a little baking soda. Then drain and boil in fresh water for 1-2 hours, depending on your kitchen equipment. In the meantime you can prepare the sauces and salads. If you can’t be bothered use canned chickpeas…
Fry the onions and garlic in a little splash of olive oil. If you don’t want too much garlic in there but a subtle hint of its flavour – going out later, singing in a choir, planning to kiss someone etc. – cut the clove in half, add to the onions but take out after frying. Mash the chickpeas with a fork and add the spices. Chop the parsley and mix all the ingredients together. The Tahini should help binding the mashed chickpeas, which can be quite dry. If really dry, also add a splash of water. You need a smooth consistency which holds together well to form little falafel balls. Once you’ve formed the balls, roll in sesame seeds.
For the carrot slaw you need:
- 1 carrot
- 1 date
- lemon juice
- a splash of olive oil
- salt & pepper
Grate the carrot, slice the date. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and season.
For the walnut sauce you need:
- 50 g walnuts
- 3 tbsp soy yoghurt
- salt & pepper
Roast the walnuts and ground them coarsely in a food processor or chop really finely. Add the soy yoghurt & parsley. Season to your taste.
For assembling the falafel you need:
- sweetheart cabbage (or white cabbage, but it’s stronger in taste)
- 1 tomato
Carefully pull some cabbage leaves from the stem. Cut the tomato into small dices. Take a big cabbage leave, put some sauce in the middle, add carrot slaw, tomato pieces and two or three falafel balls. You can slightly flatten them with a fork. Then fold the softer edge up to the middle and roll the leave from the right to the left. Or from the left to the right. That’s it.