Surprisingly easy to cook from scratch, this traditional Egyptian dish is delicious as a snack or meze. Authentic Egyptian falafels (or more accurately ta’amia) are made with split fava beans instead of chickpeas. Unlike many others, our recipe is both gluten free and vegan – it contains no eggs, flour or breadcrumbs.
Makes about 16 falafels
500g split fava beans, soaked overnight (or speed-soaked in boiling water)
1 red onion
Big bunch fresh coriander
1 red chilli pepper
Zest of 2 lemons
10 mint leaves
3 pinches coarse salt
3 pinches fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
Vegetable oil for deep frying
For the yoghurt sauce
8 mint leaves
350g yoghurt (or vegan alternative)
Juice of ½ lemon
Fresh ground black pepper
For this recipe you need to soak the beans, but don’t boil them as all the cooking happens in the oil. The beans can be soaked overnight or speed-soaked by placing them in water that’s been brought to the boil, then taking it off the heat and leaving to stand for 1 hour.
Coarsely chop the herbs, chilli and onion. Mix with the beans, spices and lemon zest, and pulse in a food processor until fairly smooth – though not to a paste.
Roll ping pong ball size patties from the mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the yoghurt sauce. Finely chop the mint and stir with the yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
Heat enough vegetable oil to cover a single layer of patties in a deep pan. When the oil is very hot, carefully place the patties in the oil and deep fry until dark golden brown – this will take a few minutes.
Drain briefly on kitchen paper and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Serve the falafel with the yoghurt sauce, a lightly dressed salad and some pitta bread.