Pure & Simple Falafel

I love falafel but have had very little success over the years with homemade recipes. However, I have been determined to develop a failsafe straight forward recipe for sometime and I've finally struck gold. There are a lot of recipes out there that try and jazz up falafel using beetroot, sweet potato, cauliflower or quinoa to name just a few but to be honest you will never get the same delicious and satisfying flavour or texture than from pure and simple chickpea falafel so that's what I have stuck to. Pure and simple. Madeleine loves these little crispy morsels especially dipped into hummus (see pictured below).

[Note: don't try to shallow fry or bake this recipe as falafel was created to be deep fried so I'm afraid you are going to have to miss out if you want to avoid this. Needs must.]

Makes 16 falafel


125g dried chickpeas, soaked in 250ml water overnight and then drained

1 shallot, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 heaped tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 heaped tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt, optional

2 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp nigella seeds


Place all the ingredients, apart from the chickpeas and sesame and nigella seeds in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds until everything is finally chopped and combined. Now, with the motor running, add the drained chickpeas a handful at a time over 2 minutes. You should have a rough and quite dry paste. Add 1 tbsp water. Blitz for 30 seconds.

Use a tbsp measuring spoon to scoop out the mixture and place each falafel on a baking tray. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up. 

Combine the sesame and nigella seeds in a small bowl and, once firm, roll the falafel carefully in the mixture to get a nice coating. 

Fill a small saucepan with sunflower oil- you need it to be about 3-cm up the side of the pan. Heat the oil- it is ready when a piece of bread lightly sizzles once lowered in on a slotted spoon. Cook the falafel in batches of 4s for 3-4 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen towel to suck up excess oil and sprinkle over sea salt if using. [Note: do not cook for less than 3 minutes or in hotter oil as you need this length of time to get the crispy exterior and crumbly interior!] Serve immediately with hummus or beetroot & feta dip or allow to cool and keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.