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The Collapse of the Falafel

Any tips on frying falafels without having them burst apart into a fluffy mass of crunch? We were able to achieve structural integrity but the tennis ball size was a bit off putting.

At L'as (in Paris) they serve lovely little 1" round falafels that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

We used 2-3" of oil (so they could float) but maybe that's too much? What texture should the mix be? Ours might have been too wet?

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  1. The oil has to be hot enough before the falafel's are put in.

    1. 2-3" is not too much. I prefer to let them chill in the freezer a bit so they hold up more firmly. Make sure the oil is hot enough to sizzle when you quickly immerse a parsley sprig in the pan. Once at the proper temperature, you can deep fry to better results.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JungMann

        freezing is genius, I can see that helping a lot!

      2. most restaurants use a deep fryer for stuff like this. at home, i think the depth of oil was sufficient, however, if your balls exploded, i suspect your oil was too hot. a smaller size will be easier to cook as well. i make them into little patties, rather than balls.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Patties might be a better idea.

          We tested all kinds of different sizes and the only size that didn't explode was tennis ball size The smaller ones just turned into a crisp lattice structure.

          I kept turning up the heat thinking that the hotter the faster it would sear but perhaps it was too hot.

          1. re: orangewasabi

            I like to use a number 10-12 disher and slight flatten them before I slip them in peanut oil. My preferred pan for frying falafel is a 2qt all clad sauce pan. 350F is plenty hot.

            I would not want to make enough for the Waltons in this pan, but for 3 people, it's sufficient.

        2. How did you make your falafels? Did you use canned or did you use dried and soaked chickpeas? Give us your recipe and it may shed some light on why this happens.

          3 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            ::hanging head in shame::

            I used a Cedar Phoenicia packet - 14oz of dry goods to 2 cups of water.

            1. re: orangewasabi

              You really should try to make your own. It's very easy. Just soak dried chickpeas in water for 18+ hours. They will be eatable but crunchy. Grind them up with garlic, green onion, parsley, cilantro, a touch of baking powder and cumin in your food processor or a meat grinder. That's it. You can add a little flour but not needed. You can vary the above ingredients as well. It's really just ground up chickpeas and or a mixure of chickpeas and fava beans that are seasoned and fried.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                What he said!!
                I can get by with canned chick peas as long as the percentage of the above fresh veggies and herbs is good. Egg and chick pea flour as binders work for me. Make 1.5 inch diameter, 0.5 inch thick patties and let them set for a while to hydrate any flour. A wok uses less oil for us who don't deep fry often.

          2. I've found that if I use a recipe that calls for baking soda, forget it. They fall apart. You might try adding more bread, or an egg to bind.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bear

              that could be it, the packet does have socium bicarbonate in it. the egg is a great idea though, I will try that too.