Regardless of where it’s from, falafel is a simple street food, a Middle Eastern/Greek fast food if you will. Yet, for something served up on pretty much every street corner, it can seem exceedingly difficult and daunting to get right at home. Not anymore! These falafel waffles are so easy to make, packed with flavor and crispy without deep-frying.
My biggest struggle was producing golden crispy falafel. I know traditional falafel is always deep-fried, but I just really didn’t want to go that route. While deep-frying produces the most crispy and delicious falafel, it also adds a lot of calories and free radicals. I tried baking the falafel in the oven, frying it in the pan with just a little bit of oil, but it just never came out as crispy as from a deep-fryer. I literally went through bags of chickpeas, trying different modifications, but just couldn’t get it right. Until one day I came across a brilliant idea – making falafel in a waffle maker. I know, right? Who would have thought of that?
So how do you make perfectly crispy falafel? Start with uncooked, soaked, chickpeas. Cooked chickpeas are too tender and contain too much moisture to achieve the right consistency. In fact, if you try to deep-fry falafel made from cooked chickpeas, the dough will completely disintegrate in the oil. That’s when you start adding binding ingredients like all-purpose flour, breadcrumbs, or eggs, leaving falafel territory.
All you need to add to your falafel is onions, garlic, salt, some spices and herbs. Personally, I also like to add some lemon zest, parsley, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, and cayenne pepper. You can also add some chiles for Mexican-inspired dish. Or throw in some thyme or mint to stay within the Middle Eastern cuisine. Experiment with different flavors and see what you like.
Unfortunately, this recipe does require a little bit of planning so hopefully you don’t have to make falafel like right now. When you do make it, leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it. Just don’t pass up this recipe. These falafel waffles are amazing!