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Keys to making good, fluffy BAKED falafels?

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When I bake my falafals they come out somewhat dry and actually hard! How can I avoid this? I was looking for a low fat and less time consuming way of making them, and hence the baking, but it seems to be really compromising texture. Not sure what I have done wrong or forgotten to add?

I just do chickpeas, parley, spices, one egg, and maybe a little little bit of oil.

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  1. They are never as fluffy as fried, but I don't use egg - unless whipped that would make them dense, I do use baking powder and onion, I spray the outside with oil, preheat the pan, and bake in patties.

    Also you don't say how you prep the chickpeas, but I never use canned or otherwise boiled.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jsaimd

      I'm looking forward to making spinach falafel tonight from Ana Sortun's "Spice". It also involves no egg, but they are fried... maybe I can try baking a few of them. She uses milk, but I'm not sure if the fat content would matter, it seems you could use skim.

      Basic recipe:
      Saute 1/2 small chopped onion with some spices (ground cumin and allspice) in not much extra-virgin olive oil. Blanch a pound of spinach leaves in salted water, then squeeze them until they cry 'mercy' (no water left) and roughly chop. Boil a cup of milk, season with salt and pepper, and slowly whisk in 3/4 cup of chickpea flour (we're going to try using a high-end blender - VitaMix - to make the flour from dry chickpeas) with about 3 Tbl more oil. Cook for about 12 minutes on very low, stirring on occasion (should be very thick). Dump into a bowl and add 2tsp lemon juice, sauteed onions, and 1/4 cup canned chickpeas, stirring to combine. The key: spread this onto a baking sheet and chill, at least two hours, so it has enough body to form into balls or patties.

      Since it has to cool for so long, I'm guessing it'll be pretty light? I'll let you know how they turn out.

      1. re: evergreengirl

        Made these earlier this week - they are really excellent! Not super heavy, but also not what I'd call 'fluffy'. Instead of frying, I froze them after forming and have been popping them in the toaster oven on 400F for 20 minutes or so. Perfect! Her tzatziki is really good, too, with whole-milk Greek yogurt.

    2. My only suggestion, besides skipping the egg, would be to use a very light hand when mixing and shaping, like meatballs & hamburgers. More handling makes it dense.