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Falafel

I make baked falafel, but while the outside is crisp as in deep fried falafel, the inside is too mushy. Any suggestions as to what I might do about that?

Abba

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  1. Hi Abba!

    You may have already done this suggestion---use dry chickpeas, soaked, instead of canned?

    10 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      Thanks, Pinehurst. Actually I used canned chickpeas, but I dried them well with a paper towel. But I also wanted to see the difference if I used dry chickpeas and soaked them. Right now I've got some chickpeas that were dry soaking away. Thanks for the suggestion.
      Abba

      1. re: abbarubin

        Falafel is made with chickpeas that have been soaked but not cooked. They are then ground, seasoned and fried. Yes you can bake them but you should try getting dried chickpeas and soaking for 8+ hours, drain then process the way you want to.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          I've been using a chana dal / split "desi" chick pea , that I pour boiled water over and let sit over night. Then season and bake or pan fry.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Thanks Scubadoo97,
            I agree with what you say, but the problem I'm having is that when I bake them the inside is still too mushy. I believe the problem is that the mixture, before baking, is too moist. How do I get it drier?
            Abba

            1. re: abbarubin

              Up thread you mentioned using canned but I see that you have done the dried/soaked and still find the centers too mushy. Did you process too finely.? I use a meat grinder instead of a food pro because I like the texture from the grinder. I've done them baked but prefer them fried. More fat calories but worth the splurge. Soaked chickpeas shouldn't have that much moisture to be mushy. Again don't over process them.

              Here is a site with a recipe for baked falafel http://cookieandkate.com/2012/baked-f...

              They look good in the picture.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Hi again and again thanks. I am soaking the dried chickpeas now. I haven't used them yet. Maybe they won't be too moist. I can always hope. I like the idea of the meat grinder. I am aware of the texture issue; I don't think that was a problem because the mixture, before baking, seemed texturally fine. Drying out the mixture seems rather difficult. I'll see how this batch goes tomorrow. I will keep the grinder in mind. It's just I'm a bit lazy about taking out the grinder and getting it dirty for anything less than a major grinding. Of course, I'm not lazy about eating so maybe I should get over it and use the grinder. I'll see how tomorrow's batch tastes.
                Abba

              2. re: abbarubin

                Have you tried forming the balls ahead of time, putting them on a baking sheet, and letting them rest in the fridge for a few hours? They will hold together better and dry out a little, and your problem may be solved.

                1. re: Rasam

                  Hi Rasam,
                  I did that and it helped, but it wasn't sufficient. However, using dry chickpeas to start with made all the difference. Thanks.
                  Abba

                  1. re: abbarubin

                    Abba, glad the dried chickpeas solved your problem

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Scubadoo97,
                      Thanks for your input. It's pretty good. I make about 24 at a time, so each time I want to change something, test an improvement, we have to eat a lot of falafel.
                      Abba

        2. I really don't think its possible to do a good falafel without deep frying. They just need that pervasive heat of oil.

          1 Reply
          1. re: echoclerk

            Hi Echoclerk,

            I found that the problem I was having was solved by using dry chickpeas and soaking them overnight. We lived in Israel for 5 years and ate falafel often -- it's so good! I made some pitas, prepared some tehini sauce and my wife said that so far, I'll still work on it, they taste like average Israeli falafel. Average isn't good enough, but it's not bad. Deep frying, of course, has an advantage which is...deep frying.
            Abba

          2. Does anyone have a great recipe they would like to share for baked falafel?

            12 Replies
            1. re: principessa del pisello

              I am nudging your post forward, because I'd like an answer to this myself. I recently made this version:

              http://theshiksa.com/2011/01/05/falaf...

              and baked them according to Mark Bittman's instructions:

              http://markbittman.com/recipe/baked-f...

              They were dry and leaden. Anyone have a better recipe/technique? I'm not willing to deep fry at home, because I don't like my home to smell like deep fry. But all other suggestions gratefully accepted.

              1. re: small h

                Well, i have my own recipe and a whole routine, but I think the thing that might be most useful for you would be a little innovation that seems to work very well. After i put the Israeli size falafel balls on parchment paper on a baking sheet, I take a spray can of pam and zip over the falafel balls. I make a quick spray of it. I don't soak them by any means. Then I turn them over and do the same thing on the other side. That tiny bit of oil makes them very crisp on the outside. There are a number of things I do to keep the inside just right, but I'm not sure that they are good because of what I do, or regardless of what I do, or despite what I do, but I do it.

                1. re: abbarubin

                  Thanks. I brushed the falafel with oil as per Bittman's instructions, but I was not satisfied with the result. Can you share your recipe?

                  1. re: small h

                    Sure, but won't it take up too much room? How best can i do it and still be appropriate? Let me say that some of the comments on the thread are right on, e.g. I use dry chick peas, but they can't be too old. I made one batch with ones that were quite old and it was no good. The time spent by the batter and falafel balls in the refrigerator is important, I think, because it dries things out a bit. I think size is also very important because if they are too big, there is the risk that they will be mushy at the center. Israeli size falafel balls I find work well.
                    Abba

                    1. re: abbarubin

                      <How best can i do it and still be appropriate?

                      People share recipes all the time on Chowhound. Take up as much room as you need.

                      1. re: small h

                        FALAFEL

                        falafel balls: total ca. 720 calories [makes 24 i.e. about 30 cal each] (my 8” pita ca 275 cal)

                        12 0z dry chickpeas. (soak overnight in the refrigerator). Water should be about 2 inches above the peas.
                        ½ large red onion coarsely chopped [20 cal]
                        ½ cup chopped fresh cilanto
                        ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
                        1 t salt

                        ½ t hot pepper
                        1 t cumin
                        1 t baking powder (without aluminum)
                        ¼ cup flour [110 cal, necessity depends on humidity?)
                        1 t chili
                        1 T olive oil [120 cal]
                        ½ t lemon juice

                        Put all but baking powder and flour into cuisinart. Blend but do NOT puree. The consistency should be just a bit gritty, but not too much, and a trifle moist, just enough to stick together well.

                        Mix in the baking powder and enough flour so it isn’t sticky. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

                        Remove from refrigerator and form falafel balls. Put the mixture into a table spoon and spray. Then turn out onto the parchment paper. (What was the bottom is now the top. Spray again.) Bake in preheated convection oven at 380º for 25 minutes. Hope it’s good. Should be. [[. A thought, haven't actually done this: Possibly after the falafel balls are sprayed put in refrigerator, uncovered, 2-3 hours to help dry them out. Try baking for 15 minutes at 380º then drop it down to 280º for 20minutes to dry the inside]]

                        1. re: abbarubin

                          Thanks very much! I see a few differences from the recipe I used, will try yours.

                          1. re: abbarubin

                            worth checking out the recipe in Ottolenghi's Jerusalem,
                            using the meat grinder works very well with his recipe. Wonderful felafel, havent tried baking it, though. I make small balls and am not having problems with deep frying smells - and can reuse the oil multiple times.

                            1. re: abbarubin

                              Hope it's good. It works over here. Like I said it's about an average Israeli quality. I'm going to try the comments in brackets to see if it gets any better. I have had no luck at all with freezing them. I tried defrosting and toasting and a few other things. Nope.
                              Abba

                              1. re: abbarubin

                                I tried your recipe today, and it worked well. I covered the mix with saran wrap when I refrigerated it, which I'm not going to do again as it didn't dry out enough and thus took about a month to bake. But I was generally pleased with the result. Thanks again!

                                1. re: small h

                                  Thanks for letting me know. I'm delighted. I thought I had written that it should go into the refrigerator "uncovered." I guess I didn't. Sorry about that.
                                  Abba

                        2. re: small h

                          Oh, and when I quick spray, I make sure to get both sides.

                  2. Thanks for your response. Yes, I did solve the problem and I did it pretty much as you suggested. Starting with the dried chick peas makes all the difference. We have had a lot of Israeli falafel and what I make in terms of quality i.e. taste, I'd say it's about middling... which I think is very good. I make the pita and the humus so everything is fresh. It's pretty good.

                    Abba

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: abbarubin

                      You could try a mixture of chickpeas and fava [white broad] beans. Chickpeas tend to be used most in Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Jordan - but broad beans are the standard in other countries like Egypt. Your experience in Israel could well have been a mixture.

                      Use dried broad beans and soak them like the chickpeas (and remove the skins if they are still on) and then experiment with the ratios maybe 50/50 to start.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        Yes, I was thinking of that, but I figured I first want to "perfect" the Israeli falafel. I think it's pretty good, but the "average" Israeli quality isn't what I strive for. So, I'll have to mess around with the texture of the inside, which is only quite good, I think, and maybe the flavor just a bit. Boy, are we eating a lot of falafel! I make the other stuff i.e. pita and humus also from scratch -- these experiments give me an awful lot to do… but, since we like eating, they're fun.

                    2. this looks very good-
                      i am going to make this this afternoon