Falafel

  • 450g soaked chickpeas (chickpeas need to be soaked in cold water for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours), add more water if necessary
  • Groundnut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 or 2 serrano chillies, chopped
  • 2 spring onions (white and green part) finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 3 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • Scant 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the piquillo pepper yogurt sauce
  • 480ml thick Greek yoghurt
  • 3 piquillo or 2 roasted red peppers
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet Spanish paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the white bean hummous
  • 225g white beans, cooked, or canned, drained and rinsed
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 120ml olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 60ml olive oil
  • For the tomato relish
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 vine-ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves: about 20

For the falafel:

1) Drain the chickpeas through a colander then place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Chickpeas should be totally dry.

2) Heat 10cm groundnut or vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 170 degrees C on a deep-fry thermometer.

3) While the oil is heating, heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and serrano chiles and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

4) Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor, add the garlic mixture, spring onions, parsley, mint, coriander, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, baking powder, salt and pepper and process until the mixture is finely ground, stopping to scrape the bowl every 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

5) Line a baking sheet with kitchen towels. Form the mixture into balls the size of ping pong balls and place on a plate. Fry in batches at 170 degrees C until a pale blonde color, about 45 seconds, spooning oil over the falafel constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon to the baking sheet. Increase the heat of the oil to 180 degrees C. Return the falafel to the oil, in batches, cover the pan with a lid for 30 seconds and fry until a deep brown color, spooning the oil over the falafel constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon to baking sheet lined with kitchen towels, and immediately season with salt.

For the yogurt sauce:

6) Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, covered, to allow the flavors to meld.

Variation: Substitute 350g feta cheese for the yogurt, and add small handful of finely chopped parsley.

For the hummous:

7) Place beans, garlic, harissa, lemon juice, and tahini in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the relish:

8) Whisk the oil, vinegar, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss. The tomatoes should be lightly dressed.

9) Serve falafel with yogurt sauce, hummus and relish on the side.

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