freezing falafel

After a long break from blogging, of course I'm back with a falafel post! What else could I possibly write about after such a long break?

One of the downsides of making homemade falafel is that I'm stuck eating it everyday for a week (or more). I love falafel, but yikes... it's a falafel feast or famine and there's got to be a better way, so I got to thinking "can I freeze falafel?" Why yes, I can... and you can, too!

One of my friends gave me a falafel press for my birthday, so now all of my falafel are the perfect size and shape. Best gift ever!!!

Anyway, here's how I freeze (and ration) my falafel...

I mix of a batch of my favorite recipe, I chill it overnight, then I form it into patties and freeze it on a cookie sheet. Once it's frozen, I pop it into a ziplock, and voila! Falafel whenever I'm in the mood :)

Really, there's no reason to buy this already prepared. It's so easy and inexpensive to make from scratch, and in the land of very little pre-prepared vegetarian food, I totally dig the convenience factor of homemade frozen falafel.

I can't leave well enough alone, so I've been playing around with my falafel recipe and have found that I prefer to use flour instead of breadcrumbs because it makes a lighter, crunchier falafel.

Here's how I'm making it these days...

1 lb. dried chickpeas
1 large onion
2 t salt
1 t cumin
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t dried hot chili
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 t baking powder
1/4 - 1/2 cup flour

Soak the chickpeas overnight, drain, rinse, and add them to a food processor outfitted with a blade. Roughly chop the onion and add it along with the salt, cumin, black pepper, dried hot chili, and garlic. Pulse a few times to blend it, the mixture should still be coarse.

Add the baking powder and 1/4 cup of flour and pulse it a few times, then check the consistency. It should be dough-like. If it's too wet, gradually add the second 1/4 cup of flour until it dries out a bit, you might even need a bit more to get the right texture. How long the chickpeas soaked are a variable here, so there's some intuition involved.

Chill the dough for at least a couple of hours, then form it into patties and fry it. I've stopped deep frying and now I just pan fry it in a bit of oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side, until it's a nice golden brown. If it's a fresh batch, I usually stick the patties in the freezer while I'm chopping veggies and heating the oil, this seems to help keep them from falling apart. If I'm cooking frozen falafel, then I take it out of the freezer and let it sit out while I'm chopping and heating.

Next, I'll post my recipe for a spicy, sweet red sauce I like on them...

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