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shortcut for chickpeas - falafel

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The recipe i use for falafel requires me to soak dried chickpeas for about 24 hrs ---- using Canned Chickpeas aren't really an option, (Ive never tried it, but I don't think it would work)

The recipe is the Bittman recipe, and I love it... reminds me of authentic falafel... crunchy outside and a course texture inside because of the dried beans.

Is there a shortcut to re-hydrating the chickpeas sufficiently without using canned? I'm craving falafel tonight...and my chickpeas are soaking, but won't be done in time.

Could I cook the dried beans a bit???

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  1. i guess you could par-cook them. might affect the final texture a little bit, but it would certainly be better than attempting his method with canned beans :)

    1. I really don't see the problem if you just place them in a bucket of water 24 yours before you need to use them. It's not like you have to attend to them. I have some soaking on my counter at the moment. These will be cooked in a pressure cooker tomorrow but the presoaking is really not an issue. They need to be washed anyway so just do it ahead of time and put them aside.

      8 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97

        the point with this particular recipe is that you don't cook the chickpeas *at all* first...you just soak them, pulse in the FP, combine with other patty ingredients, and fry.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I've par-cooked them for about 30-45 min maybe? This resulted in a slightly crunchy yet slightly soft texture, which made for a really nice falafel.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Yes I know they aren't cooked for this recipe. Just mentioned I have some sitting on my counter waiting to be used. Actually you don't have to soak them for 24 hours. As long as they are edible yet still a little crunch they will work fine in falafel. Mine are that way after an overnight soak. I just gave them a taste test. Soaking much longer does not change the texture dramatically. My point is that soaking only requires time and not much more effort than that. Just don't try to make falafel on a whim or at the last minute.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              gotcha - i misunderstood. i think the OP's problem was that it *was* sort of on a whim with very little time for soaking.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                No problem. And again my point to the OP was that soaking is so passive, easy and non precise that it doesn't get much easier. Just need to plan ahead. Again you don't really need 24 hrs of soaking. You could soak, drain and store in the fridge for a couple of days if you aren't ready to deal with them. Just don't used canned or precooked chickpeas.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Would baking work maybe at a high or even a low temp ????

              1. re: scunge

                definitely not. you're trying to *hydrate* the beans so the last thing you want to do is use a dry cooking method.

            3. re: scubadoo97

              the problem is the op wants them today, not tomorrow

            4. This won't help today, but for future reference, you can soak your chickpeas overnight, then drain and dry them, and stash them in the freezer. I always have a 1/2 bag of soaked chickpeas in there for when I want to make falafel or roast them. They defrost quickly in the microwave without hurting the texture.

              But for now, parcooking is fine. However, I have also made falafel with canned chickpeas. No, it did not taste as good and I had to roll the chickpeas around on paper towels until they were bone dry, but the patties held together just fine.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Isolda

                Good to know the soaked chickpeas hold up well to freezing.

              2. Would a quick soak work for this? Place the dried in water, bring to a boil for a few minutes, take off heat, cover and let sit for an hour.

                5 Replies
                1. re: katecm

                  Possibly. The chickpeas should be edible but still crunchy. If this can be achieved with the quick soaking method then I don't see why it wouldn't work.

                  1. re: katecm

                    I've tried quick soaking and it worked, but I think it took a couple of hours of soaking and I may have given it some more heat (but did not bring to a boil) after the first hour. To test, remove a bean and cut it in half. If the center is still hard and dry, keep soaking.

                    In addition to freezing the soaked chickpeas, you can make big batch of felafel dough, break it into smaller portions and freeze that.

                    1. re: Zeldog

                      That sounds like the best solution for spur-of-the-moment falafel cravings, because for me the grinding is the biggest hassle (I use a hand-cranked meat grinder). If you pre-form the individual balls before freezing I guess you can just drop them right into the deep fryer. From freezer to falafel in five minutes!

                      (Now I just need to get a freezer...)

                      1. re: DeppityDawg

                        grinding no hassle in the FP at all,and you can control the texture.

                        1. re: DeppityDawg

                          If you do get that freezer, I would not recommend frying frozen falafel balls. I think if you fry them long enough for the center to be done the outside will be charred and really nasty tasting. Better to thaw first, then form the balls and fry.

                          I've made falafel using a meat grinder and it was excellent, although I had to grind twice to get the right texture. But a meat grinder will handle slightly under-soaked chickpeas better than a food processor, so maybe you could get away with a quick soak of 1 hour.

                    2. a pressure cooker would come in handy

                      1. I've been making falafel all summer using canned chickpeas. Finally got around to buying some dried ones and soaked them for 24 hours for tonight's dinner.. Processed them with all ingredients and found the texture to be very different from canned and I was concerned...so of course had to fry on up for a taste test. Wow, what a great flavor and texture. I processed them quite fine compared to the canned but they are so much better. If you haven't tried dried, I urge you to do so, they're wonderful.

                        1. You DON'T cook chickpeas when you make falafel. They get cooked only when the whole fritter is cooked. Cooking them before making the mixture is a common rookie mistake. COOKED CHICKPEAS (AND CANNED ARE COOKED) MAKE MUCH TOO WET A MIXTURE THAT WILL FALL APART AND TASTE WATERY. Some people try to compensate by adding breadcrumbs and/or flour to cooked chickpeas. That results in a dry, bland falafel. The only way to avoid the lengthy soak would be to go to a farm in August, get them fresh from the sheller before they are dried and either use them right away or freeze them after the briefest possible blanching. Somehow I don't see that as easier.

                          Anyhow, the hard part of making falafel is grinding the chickpeas and herbs, not soaking them.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Stein the Fine

                            Passionate use of Caps by a falafel purist.

                            Alas. Raw green chickpeas are not good for falafel. It appears that there is no quick fix, even in August.

                            At the other extreme, once I was unable to make falefel the following day as planned. I ended up with some really rank and bubbly, oversoaked chickpeas.

                            It is amazing that such an unpretentious street-foodish item requires so much forethought and synchronisation.

                            1. re: shaun theewe

                              Oh dear. Are the fermented beans good for anything? Maybe Korean? The fridge next time of course.

                              Oddly, I'm okay w/ canned chickpeas in channa masala, and have even used (blush) MDH packaged seasoning for that dish, but I'd never use falafel mix. I guess I have to put "Falafel Purist" on my next message T-shirt.

                              I have to admit that I've never actually tried green chickpeas. I was just extrapolating from fava beans. How did you find out that they don't work? Is there a story there?