Edible Alphabet is a free English Language Learning (ELL) program offered by the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center. The mission is to teach English language and literacy skills through hands-on cooking projects. While Free Library locations remain closed to the public in the interest of public health and safety, we will be sharing weekly recipes from our class curriculum and past participants.
Do you have dried chickpeas in your pantry? Mine have been sitting there since I panic-bought them in early March, so today I am cooking from the Edible Alphabet: Global Dishes workbook and making falafel!
This recipe is pretty simple but does involve a little advance planning, as using dried chickpeas makes a big difference in the texture of the final product. I love making this recipe with Edible Alphabet participants from Southwest Asia and North Africa and hearing stories about when they first learned to make falafel and the family recipes they use. Since, like many of you, I’m cooking alone at home these days, I’ll be listening to modern Iraqi folk music to keep me company, which I’m streaming for free with my library card through the Free Library’s music databases.
- ½ lb. dried chickpeas
- ½ large onion
- ½ c. fresh herbs*
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
*I usually use a mix of parsley and cilantro, but you can use whatever you have in your home—even spinach would work!
- Soak chickpeas in a large pot of water with 1 ½ tsp. of salt for 8-12 hours.
- Chop onion, garlic, and herbs.
- Drain chickpeas and add to blender with onion, garlic, herbs, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt.
- Blend until chickpea mixture is a fine chop (all small pieces) but not puréed.
- Place half of the chickpea mixture in a bowl and blend the remaining mixture to a paste.
- Place chickpea puree in the bowl, stir to combine with chickpea mixture, cover with plastic, and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Divide the chickpea mixture into small patties.
- Heat ¾ inch of oil in a medium skillet till very hot. Add falafel balls and fry for 3 minutes (turning them over halfway through once they are brown).*
- Remove falafel with slotted spoon, salt to taste and rest on paper towels.
- Serve on top of a green salad or stuffed inside pita with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and yogurt-sauce.
For more information about Edible Alphabet and the Culinary Literacy Center, visit freelibrary.org/cook or email kitchen @ freelibrary.org. Enjoy this recipe? Leave a comment and stay tuned for another Edible Alphabet recipe next week!