Recipe: How to Make Falafel | Ta’amia | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls


Who can resist a good falafel? Wonderful for snacks, meals, in wraps or topping salads, they are wonderfully tasty, textural and healthy. Whip them up using chickpeas you have previously cooked and  frozen for an easy supper.

Home made falafel are a huge cut above store-bought ones, or even those in some restaurants which must purchase them in bulk and frozen. One has to wonder why, they are so easy to make, whereas many pre-prepared ones taste like cardboard. Who hasn’t had a wrap or roll with falafel stuffed into them for a “vegetarian option” when it would have been more flavoursome to leave them out?

Worry no more, we have your back. These are fantastic. Crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can grind the chickpeas coarsely or more finely, which ever is your preference. But they must be ground enough to hold together as fritters.

Are you looking for Middle Eastern recipes? Try Zhug – A Coriander-Chilli Paste, Dip and Sauce, Saffron and Rose Scented Eggplant, and Tahina Tarator (a dressing and dip).

Or are you after Chickpea recipes. Try Chickpea Tabbouleh, Baked Chickpeas, and Hummus.

This is one of our Retro recipes. Feel free to browse other recipes from the Retro Recipes series – recipes from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2005. You might also like to browse all of Middle Eastern recipes here. Or all of our Chickpea recipes here. Check out our easy Mid Spring recipes here.

As the original comments from the original blog post say, this recipe has its genesis in Middle Eastern Vegetarian Dishes by Arto Der Haroutunian who has written many classic Middle Eastern and Northern African cook books – my copy is a an ancient one, but it has been re-released in recent years.


Ta’amia |Falafel | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls

These are from my very trusty Middle Eastern Vegetarian Dishes cookbook . They are very easy to make. In fact, I have placed left over chickpeas in the freezer, brought them out at the last minute and whipped up a great meal of falafel, salad and a baked pumpkin with my trusty nut mix sprinkled over them. This is a particularly yummy recipe, but don’t be afraid to tailor the recipe at will.

450 g cooked chickpeas 100 ml water 1 Tblspn besan (chickpea flour)
1 tspn salt 0.5 tspn black pepper 0.5 tspn turmeric
2 Tblspns chopped fresh coriander leaves 0.25 tspn ground cumin 0.25 tspn cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed 1 Tblspn tahini paste or olive oil 50 g fresh white breadcrumbs
50 g flour vegetable oil for frying

Mince or grind the chickpeas well and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, besan, salt and pepper, turmeric, coriander leaves, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic, tahini or olive oil, and breadcrumbs.
With your hands, combine all the ingredients into a soft, but firm mixture. Form the mixture into 2.5 cm balls or patties, flattening slightly between your palms and coat them with flour.

Heat the oil in a large pan until hot (a small piece of stale bread dropped into the oil browns in about 50 seconds). Put the balls or patties about 5 or 6 at a time into the oil and fry for 2 or 3 minutes on each side (or deep fry) until lightly browned. Remove them as soon as they are cooked and drain well on kitchen paper. Serve hot.


This is cross posted with our sister site,  A Life Time of Cooking; it appears here as part of the Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2005.

browse some of the Middle Eastern recipes