Baked Falafel

I am starting blogging marathon # 18 under the theme “deep fried foods made healthy by baking or steaming”. I must say, it is one of the most challenging themes I have done so far in these marathons! When I chose this theme, I had a few recipes on mind but never tried them. I started preparing for the marathon 2 weeks ago and I only have today’s recipe done. The other is in the oven for tomorrow and this is a tested recipe. I baked it last week but could not take pictures and hence preparing it again today. I tried mirchi bajji, chicken pakoda, chegodi and tomorrows snack. Off the four, chegodi was an utter flop and mirchi bajji & chicken pakoda can be tried again tweaking the recipe a little. I mirchi bajji is on top of my list and will experiment with it at a later time, not for this edition of the marathon though. For today, I have a healthier version of falafel, baked in the oven.

I adapted this recipe, rather the procedure, by tweaking the ingredient list and incorporating only the spices and herbs that were handy. The result was pretty good. I would not say it was as good as the deep fried falafel but it was good. Apart from baking instead of deep frying, the other reason I liked the recipe is, the preparation for the falafel can be made up to a day in advance, which is preparing the dough/batter, shaping the falafel and refrigerating until ready to bake. This would be great for parties if the preparation is made a day ahead and all one needs to do is pop the falafel patties into the oven, just before the guests arrive and serve it hot when done. For the sauce, I followed Pavani’s recipe which she shared when I posted my deep fried version here.

Chickpeas vada, middle eastern cuisine, fusion falafel, blogging marathon

Adapted from: Cook Eat Live Vegetarian
Preparation: 45 – 50 minutes (excludes soaking time for the Chickpeas)
Baking Time: 30 – 35 minutes
Yields: 12

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry Chickpeas
  • 1/2 small Onion
  • 5-7 small Green Chilies (adjust to tolerance level)
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tbsp. chopped Ginger
  • 1 tsp. Salt can use a little less (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. Oil
  • 2-4 tbsp. Gram Flour / Besan for dusting
  • Cooking Oil Spray

Preparation:

  • Soak chickpeas overnight. I soaked them in water for almost 24 hours. Wash the soaked chickpeas several times in water and drain all the water.
  • In a food processor, pulse onion, green chilies, cumin, coriander powder, garlic and ginger for few seconds. Then add rest of the ingredients except gram flour and cooking spary and process it until chickpeas are grinded. It does not have to be a fine paste and mixture will be a little coarse. Do not add any water when processing it and if required, add a little lime/lemon juice to get the blades moving.
  • Take a baking sheet, line it with an aluminum foil. In a plate take some gram flour and keep it aside.
  • Shape the chickpeas paste into small round patties, dust them in gram flour and place them on the baking sheet. Once all the patties are made, cover it with an aluminum foil or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. I refrigerated it for couple of hours. See notes # 1.
  • When ready to bake, remove the baking sheet from the fridge and leave it on the counter top to bring it to room temperature, that is until the oven is pre-heated.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Spray some cooking oil on the falafel patties and bake on the middle rack for 15 – 20 minutes. I baked it for 20 minutes. Remove form oven and flip them over. See notes # 2.
  • Bake for another 10 – 15 minutes until the falafel is cooked inside. Since I baked mine for 20 minutes, after flipping the patties I baked for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve them with yogurt sauce.

Chickpeas vada, middle eastern cuisine, fusion falafel, blogging marathon,

Notes:

  1. Recipe called for polenta or cornmeal for dusting. I had either of those at home and I do not use those in my cooking. Hence I substituted it with gram flour. Also, the recipe called for dusting the patties in polenta or cornmeal just before baking. I dusted them in gram flour and refrigerated the patties. When I pulled them out from the fridge for baking them, the top layer was a little cracked and dry. If you look at the falafel in the first two pictures, the texture of the falafel is little smoother in the plate than those in the basket. The smoother layer is bottom layer that was on the baking sheet and the cracked or rough layer is the top layer. Had I dusted my patties just before baking, I could have smoothened cracked surface of the patties and then dusted it in the flour. This is something to consider the next time I make these falafel.
  2. I did not grease the aluminum foil and the falafel were stuck to the sheet/foil. It was not that difficult to remove or flip them but the surface was not smooth as some of the chickpeas paste was stuck to the sheet. Greasing the foil might have avoided sticking.
  3. Temperatures vary from oven to oven, please check the falafel in between to make sure it doesn’t over bake.

Yogurt Sauce
Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Sesame Seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 small Clove of Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt
  • Little Lime Juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper Powder
  • Pinch of cumin Powder

Preparation:

  • I did not have tahini at home so grinded sesame seeds & sesame oil to substitute for tahini. If using tahini, it is equal parts of tahini & yogurt.
  • Mix together sesame seeds + sesame oil paste with rest of the ingredients to prepare the sauce.

Recipes this day in 2008: Corn Salad and Sorakaya~Bottle Gourd Pachadi
Recipes I posted this month in 2008, in 2009, in 2010 and in 2011.

Blogging Marathon: To know more about the various themes and participating bloggers for this marathon, checkout the blogging marathon page on Srivalli’s blog

Event Entries: I am sending these falafel to Simona’s My Legume Love Affair, an event started by Susan, to Nalani’s Show Me My Hits: Lentils & Legumes, an event started by Sangeetha and to Pradnya’s Bake Fest, an event started by Vardhini.

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