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My baked falafel was disgusting..can anyone explain why?

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I've only made falafel twice before, both times with good results. The recipe I used called for soaking the chickpeas overnight, then cooking them until soft, mashing them and mixing them with the rest of the ingredients. I tried frying them in cooking spray and baking them in the oven and both times they were very nice.

However, this time, and after much perusing for 'authentic' falafel recipes, I decided to go for what seemed to be the consensus (on this site and others) and I did not cook the chickpeas. I soaked them for about 18 hours, then put them in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients, formed the balls and put them in the oven. What a disaster! Not only did they taste foul (I am still suffering the consequences of the raw chickpea taste in my mouth) but the consistency was awful...hard, dry and nothing like what a falafel should be! Could anyone explain to me where I went wrong and share with me your best foolproof method for making falafel?

Thanks!

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  1. have you ever tried chickpea flour? It is so gross so I can imagine what you went through. Once you bake the flour or boil the chickpeas a lot of the beany flavour compounds are disintegrated so I recommend just cooking them first or using canned chickpeas if you are in a hurry.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bryn

      My goodness are you dissing one of my favorite food? Chickpea flour is great made simply into fries or pancakes not to mention its use in more complex dishes. Very tasty - sorry for your previous bad experiences. Perhaps you'll try again.

      1. re: alwayscooking

        just raw it is nasty once you bake it it is great. Raw it is too much for me, but I know I have very boring tastes.

    2. My recipe uses soaking peeled fava beans and chick peas (but for no more than 12 hours) and each is processed separately into a fine granular mixture (not a puree) then combined in a separate bowl. The onion, cilantro and garlic are processed together, then added to the beans along with the bread crumbs, seasonings. I add a little oil if the mixture is too dry. I don't roll them into balls, I form them with a spoon and fry them in about an inch of oil.
      Does your recipe similar to that?

      1. The recipe I used was specifically for baked falafel as I am trying to cook healthy during the week. It said that I should process the chickpeas with onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin and baking powder in a food processor but not to a puréed consistency (big mistake as I discovered). I am not sure what would have happened if I'd fried them instead but as it stands, I was supposed to bake them for 15 minutes at 200 degrees C...I baked them for about 40 and they were still nowhere near cooked! I can't seem to shake off that disgusting aftertaste in my mouth and I love chickpeas and chickpea flour! So I think from now on I am going to revert back to cooking the chickpeas before processing...if I can bring myself to have falafel again, that is...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Paula76

          oh, dear...you MUST enjoy falafel again...this is one of the reasons I don't try it at home...it's one of those foods that I just go nuts over and am happier to purchase them at local restaurant every now and then (Pelagos restaurant) because they are 1. crunchy 2. not greasy 3. served with tzatziki, not tahini. Hope you get over the mishap!

        2. Don't cook your chickpeas - just soak them, and then grind them. Use a real falafel recipe, I like the one called "Favorite Falafel" or something like that on Epicurious. I find when I bake falafel it works better to do patties instead of balls - high temp oven, and spray with oil. Another good trick is to spray the pan with oil, and heat it up in the oven, then stick the falafel dough on there.

          The extra water from cooking is responsible for the raw chickpea taste I bet.

          With chickpea flour you get more of a bready texture. I will eat it, but it isn't falafel as I know it, and my husband hates it. Love it for pancakes though!