Traditionally deep-fried, this lighter version of the much-loved Middle Eastern falafel is baked. Teamed with a fresh herb and tomato salad and tasty tahini dressing, it makes a deliciously light meal.
- lemon wedges, to serve
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
- 300 g dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 12-24 hours (see Baker’s tips)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup coarsely chopped coriander
- ½ cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
- 6 green shallots, white and pale green part only, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- pinch cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 135 g (½ cup) tahini (see Baker’s tips)
- 120-140 ml water
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 130 g (½ cup) Greek-style natural yoghurt
Tomato & herb salad
- 500 g mixed ripe tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on the size
- ⅔ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ⅔ cup small mint leaves
- 55 g (⅓ cup) currants, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes and drained
- ¼ tsp sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Brush a large oven tray generously with half the oil.
To make the baked falafel, place all the ingredients, except the remaining oil, in a food processor and use the pulse button to process until well combined and a rough paste forms. To test if it has been processed enough, press a little of the mixture in your hands. If it holds together, it is ready; if not, process for another 10 seconds and test again.
Shape tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls, massaging and pressing with your palms so the mixture holds together. Flatten slightly to form patties about 1 cm thick and 4 cm in diameter. Place on the oiled tray close together. Brush the patties generously with the remaining oil.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the patties over and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden and crisp on the outside and warmed through.
Meanwhile, to make the tahini sauce, put the tahini in a medium bowl and gradually stir in the water (it will become thicker before it starts to thin). Stir through the yoghurt, garlic and lemon. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until required.
To make the tomato & herb salad, put all the ingredients in a bowl and toss gently to combine.
Divide the salad among serving plates, top with the falafel and drizzle with the tahini sauce.
• Remember different batches of dried chickpeas will need various soaking times - the easiest way to tell when they’re ready to use is that they will crush easily when pressed between your fingers.
• Use hulled (as opposed to unhulled) tahini to make your sauce for a less bitter flavour.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Lebanese column.
View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.