Falafel. Crunchy on the outside & tender in the middle. Full of flavour & stuffed into a flatbread with salad & tahini sauce, or served as part of a sharing plates spread. The one thing it should be to be the most delicious it can be is freshly made. Falafel are surprisingly easy to make. Try this Herby Fava Bean falafel for a delicious twist!
Fava beans and chickpeas are both used for the basis of falafel, depending on where the falafel is from. Chickpea based falafel are common in across Middle East, in particular Israel & the Levant, whereas fava beans are more commonly used in Egypt.
Crazy fact: Fava beans are actually dried Broad Beans, & are a crop that has been grown in the UK since the iron age. For some reason they fell out of usage, & so the UK exports pretty much all it's crop to places like Egypt who can't get enough of them!
Fava (or Broad Beans) are also grown by farmers to help improve the soil. Legumes - in particular beans & peas are great at fixing nitrogen in the soil, which helps nurture the crop that is planted after.
So. Why aren't we eating the ancient but delicious fava beans? Honestly, I think we've just forgotten how to make them tasty. Also maybe the idea of getting beans out of the cupboard & pouring some water over them the night before to let them soak is just one step too many. (I'm going to say it.. purleese. Pouring water onto some beans does not require skill. At all. Seriously)
Anyway. Fava Bean Falafels are delicious. And are ridiculously easy to make. All you need to do is soak the beans overnight (again.. not hard!) then blend them up (not cooked!- yet) with some delicious herbs & spices, then form into little patties & fry. This recipe has lots of extra herbs and warming spices such as cumin, coriander & cardamon which give them a wonderful aroma & utterly delicious & moreish flavour.
So so so delicious.
Serve with tahini sauce, some salad & maybe some flatbreads, hummus & a few pickles & olives.
Herby Fava Bean Falafel
- Soak the fava beans overnight ( or at lease 4-5 hours) in lots of fresh water. This will soften them.
- Drain the fava beans & rinse in cold water.
- In a food processor pulse the fava beans until they become like breadcrumbs. x
- Add the herbs, spices, bicarb soda (this makes the falafel fluffy!) and salt to taste & pulse again so the herbs are minced & incorporated into the fava bean mix.
- Heat enough oil in a pan to deep fry the falafel ( I like to use a small saucepan & approx 5 cm (2-3 inches) of oil)
- When the oil is hot (drop a breadcrumb in , when it bubbles & turns crispy the oil is hot enough) drop small spoons full /small balls of the falafel mix into the oil - about 4 -5 at a time.
- Fry until crispy & brown on the outside.
- Serve with tahini sauce (a mix of tahini, lemon juice & water) or hummus. Or in a wrap with lots of salad, tahini sauce, chilli sauce & pickles.
- You can also make balls or burger shapes & oven bake the falafel at approx 180c for around 10 mins.