Falafel... failure!!!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by ara gureghian, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. ara gureghian

    ara gureghian

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    So I was asked to make some Falafels for an "Israeli Folk Dance group" yesterday... Being Armenian and having travelled intensively throughout the Middle East in my youth, Falafel has always been one of my favorite... with a nice warm Pita Bread... Tahinini sauce... and on and on...
    I seemed to have a good Rx and to make a long story short... as the Falafels are gently dropped into the fryer... they are VANISHING!!! Bummer... get back on the Internet to check some more Rx's... none call for eggs or flour... 90mn's to lunch... start thinking... well... besides the cooked/processed Garbanzo Beans I really do not have a binding agent... and none is called for in any of the Rx's...
    I take all my patties... re-form them into a big ball again and decided to add flour... the lunch was saved... they looked great and had a lot of compliments on them... BUT... I just don't remember or even have read anywhere that flour was used...
    Has anyone have any experience with those little guys???
    I appreciate the input...
    Ara
     
  2. deltadoc

    deltadoc

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    Yes, I've had trouble making falafel. My recipe was given to me by an Arab restaurant owner for whom I have the greatest regard for his cooking abilities.

    My falafels were falling apart and disappearing, only to be retrieved like crispy fried bits in the bottom of the wire basket.

    An oil thermometer was used to test the temperature of the deep fryer I was using. While the fryer said it was at 360F, the thermometer showed 249.

    Letting the fryer sit for 20 minutes at 375F on its control, and taking it's temperature again, showed 249 F. Apparently that was it's top temperature.

    So, I contacted the manufacturer, Rival, and they said they'd be glad to replace the unit. Only I pay for shipping both ways! A quick check on the internet showed that my experience was definitely not unique. A check with UPS showed that shipping charges would approximate the total price I paid for the deep fryer. AND...with no guarantee, based on the many internet complaints with this very model, of getting anything that really worked.

    So, we cleaned it up nice, and gave it to the neighbor from Hades as a "gift of truce"....

    :) Only joking about that. We deep ditched the fryer. No more Rival goods for us.

    BTW: By putting the oil from the fryer into a heavy bottomed sauce pan, and using the thermometer to get the 360F that I was looking for, the falafel fried up beautifully and as would be expected from a restaurant.

    doc
     
  3. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    That helped me make a perfect batch the first time, too.

    I made pan-fried felafel using a batch of leftover homemade hummus as a base. I used a non-stick pan and only a little fat. If you want the recipe, send me a PM.

    Mezzaluna
     
  4. ara gureghian

    ara gureghian

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    Ah! I thought it would be the TEMP at the time... physics... high temp to "sear" the exterior... I was happy to save the luncheon however by adding flour... this group was from Israel and the irony is that they thought it was the best Falafel they ever had!!! Go figure... their comment was... "they are so light!..." My thought and rememberance when having Falafel in the Cairo Souks with my grandfather many moons ago was that they had a heavier texture you could bite into it... Funny!
    And yes... would love the Rx... you can PM me anytime... I will make them outside and use a... thermometer...
    Thanks for your replies... I love this site! I wish I could spend hours writing...
    Well... soon...
    Be well...
    Ara
     
  5. shahar

    shahar

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    It seems something was lost the translation of this recipe.

    Did you soak your chickpeas? I've seen many a chef mistakengly use cooked or canned chickpeas. Big mistake. You should use soaked chickpeas, preferbly with some baking soda in the water. Overnight's great. If you running late, boil some water and pour over dried chickpeas, add a small amount of baking soda and soak for and hour or two. Strain. Puree in pulses.

    No eggs!!! Bread crumbs are ok. Penko, if you got. This will suck moisture if needed. A little chickpea flour's a possibility too, but one I don't like too much myself.

    Bonus - Palastinians would sometime stuff ground lamb into a falafel. Also try the original egyptian version, Taam'eh, by replacing SOAKED chickpeas with favabeans. Contemporary Israely variations might include ground shrimp, beef or chicken with the original recipe, or replace the parsly with basil for a slightly Italian flavor.