Falafel with lemony tahini sauce








Deutsches Rezept am Ende…metric Recipe in German at the end…

Falafel is either made with dried chickpeas or broad (fava) beans or a combination of the two. Most Middle Eastern countries use chickpeas, I have tried the Egyptian broad been version (called ta’amia and the Egyptian National dish according to Claudia Roden) for its hearty, nutty flavour and meaty texture. All largely owned to the ingenuous combination of cooked and raw pulsed beans in the Moro recipe (Please note: fava beans must be cooked & the ground raw beans will get cooked when fried), though chickpea falafel are equally delicious & healthy.

Nowadays veggie burger and bean fritters are ubiquitous as vegetarian alternatives to meat but this fantastic Middle Eastern street food deserves more attention than being just Ersatzmeat. I love a mezze spread with lots of different plates & bowls to pick, dip and nosh from (luckily we are catching up with this convivial food sharing where it is allowed to taste from other plates, yes, I am that person but normally contain the urge) and thinking about it, I always favoured the 24 starter plate (tiny portions) over any main course when we went out for Egyptian food and never ordered anything else.

Falafel with sesame

Nestled in salad, shredded carrots, cabbages, tomatoes, cucumbers, drizzled with a spicy yoghurt sauce and wrapped in pita or lafa (flatbread), falafel can be encountered nearly everywhere nowadays. Pre-made dried mixtures of various flavours have long left the alternative health stores and made leaps and bounds in quality and taste – so why the fuss of making them from scratch at home? Why not? It is fun, to see how things are made and what they are made of; how to play with flavours and research the history of such foods. Plus, the lemony Tahini dipping sauce is to die for.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, I had a bag of dried Italian fava beans in the larder and some subtle pressure from my husband was exercised to use all the wonderful things I pick up here and there. Our larder is something akin to Ali Baba’s treasure cave with it’s shelves groaning under the weight of dried limes, Alsatian jam, assorted flours, a respectable Mexican chile collection, salts of the world and do you know la belle-iloise? If, then, you’ll know, that those are way to pretty & tempting to pass by, especially if you are in a shop selling nothing but those jewel box like tins of Rilletes de Maquereau and other precious things (right at the flower market, 32 Cours Saleya in Nice, you can’t miss it).

Falafel with sesame

About dried fava beans: large mature specimens are a must here, either leathery brown-skinned Italian fave (mine worked out but require some extra work like soak & skin & soak) or ideally dried skinned split broad beans and just soak. The thought of using canned chickpeas as a short-cut might creep into your mind, but since already cooked, too soft & waterlogged they would not hold it together.

Ideas for a mezze or meze spread: hummus, fattoush salad, burnt aubergine tahini dip or Moutabal, flatbread, spicy carrot salad, Baba Ganoush, a spicy Muhammara (my favourite recipe from Heidi Swanson is now here), broad bean falafel with lemony tahini sauce (see below), dukkah, these Indian spiced chickpeas, minty cucumber salad, cauliflower fritters


Falafel with lemony Tahini sauce

Adapted from Sam & Sam Clark’s Moro. The Cookbook with a little Claudia Roden worked in.


250g dried fava beans, soaked overnight & hulled
½ bunch coriander
½ bunch parsley
½ onion
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1½ teaspoons cumin, ground
1teaspoons coriander, ground
50g chickpea/gram flour or plain flour
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda / baking soda / Natron
1 egg
salt & pepper
4 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
1 litre peanut / sunflower / canola oil for frying

3-4 tablespoons Tahini
juice of ½ – 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, pressed or finely grated
4-5 tablespoons water
salt & pepper


I used large brown fava beans instead of skinned & split ones and removed the skin when softened during the soaking time and continued soaking the cream-coloured inner beans in a fresh change of water.

Rinse before use and split the amount in two parts: the Moro recipe uses a half & half-ratio, I found 2/3 cooked beans to 1/3 dry-ground pleasing. Bring two-thirds (or half) of the beans in cold water to the boil. Reduce the heat & simmer for about 10 minutes until tender, remove any scum during cooking. Drain.

Grind the remaining third (or half) in the food processor until gritty-smooth (you’ll see what I mean) and set aside in a mixing bowl. Roughly chop the coriander & parsley in the food processor as well (it is already dirty or chop by hand), empty into the same bowl & repeat with the onion half (or grate it over the designated bowl). Finally, pulse the cooked beans until smooth and add the paste along with the pressed garlic, cumin, coriander, flour, bicarbonate & egg to the other ingredients. Season with salt & pepper, mix thoroughly and rest the dough for roughly 10-15 minutes though if in a hurry it could be used right away (rest them later before frying).

Roll into walnut-sized balls before carefully pressing the rounds with your fingertips into patties (they should not crack). Coat none/all/some in sesame seeds, I did both to taste-test the difference and we liked them either way. Leave them to rest for a few minutes while heating the oil in a big, thick-bottomed saucepan. The frying oil should be hot but too hot otherwise the falafel will fry to quickly & burn without getting cooked through.

Make the sauce: Mix Tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper with water into a thin-ish sauce.

Fry the discs slowly in small batches until golden brown all over. Drain of excess oil on a layer of kitchen paper towels and serve with the lemony Tahini sauce and a tangy tomato-cucumber salad or Fattoush as a main course or part of a mezze spread.



Falafel mit Zitronen-Tahinisauce

Adaptiert von Sam & Sam Clarks Moro. The Cookbook (gibt es auch auf Deutsch) und Claudia Roden.


250g Fava Bohnen (getrocknete große Saubohnen, italienische Fava)
1 Bund Koriander, grob gehackt
½ Bund glatte Petersilie, grob gehackt
½ Zwiebel
3 Knoblauchzehen, gepresst, gerieben oder mit einem Messer zerdrückt
1 ½ TL Kreuzkümmel, gemahlen
1 TL Korianderkapseln, gemahlen
50g Kichererbsenmehl (Gram flour) oder Mehl
1 Ei
¼ TL Natron
Salz & Pfeffer
4 EL Sesam (optional)
1 Liter Erdnussöl oder Sonnenblumenöl zum Frittieren

3-4 EL Tahini
Saft von ½ – 1 Zitrone
1 Knoblauchzehe, mit Messer zerdrückt, gerieben oder gepresst
Salz & Pfeffer
4-5 EL Wasser


Ich habe große, braune getrocknete italienische Fave anstatt von halben geschälten Sau- oder Dicke Bohnen benutzt, die harte Haut während des Einweichens entfernt und die geschälten cremefarbenen Bohnen weiter in frischem Wasser einweichen lassen.

Die Bohnen abspülen und in zwei Teile teilen: das Verhältnis von gekochten zu rohen Bohnen im Moro Rezept ist halb & halb, ich bevorzuge zwei Drittel gekochte zu einem Drittel rohen. (Anmerkung: auch die rohen Bohnen werden anschließend während des Frittierens gekocht.) Zwei Drittel der eingeweichten Bohnen in einem Topf mit kaltem Wasser bedeckt zum Kochen bringen, die Hitze reduzieren und für ca. 10 Minuten bissfest bis weich (aber nicht matschig) kochen. Schaum während des Kochens abschöpfen, Bohnen in ein Sieb geben und abtropfen lassen.

Das verbleibende Drittel Bohnen in einer Küchenmaschine in kurzen Impulsen zu einer sandig weichen Konsistenz zerkleinern und in eine Rührschüssel geben. Koriander und Petersilie ebenfalls in der Maschine klein hacken (sie ist ja schon in Benutzung, alternativ die Kräuter per Hand hacken), in die Schüssel geben und gleichfalls mit der Zwiebel verfahren (alternativ kann sie auch gerieben werden). Zum Schluß die gekochten Bohnen grob pürieren und zusammen mit der Knoblauchpaste, Kreuzkümmel, Koriander, Mehl, Natron und Ei zu den anderen Zutaten in die Ruhrschüssel geben. Die Masse Salz & Pfeffer würzen und gründlich vermischen. Den Teig 10-15 Minuten ruhen lassen, ist man in Eile kann er auch direkt weiter verwendet werden (man sollte sie dann aber vor dem Frittieren ein wenig ruhen lassen).

Walnussgrosse Kugel formen und vorsichtig mit den Fingerspitzen flachdrücken (die Ränder sollten nicht aufreißen). Alle /keine/einige Falafel in Sesamsamen wenden und wiederum ein paar Minuten ruhen lassen bis das Öl in einem großen Topf mit dickem Boden heiß ist. Das Frittieröl sollte nicht rauchend heiß sein, sonst verbrennen die Falafel und bleiben innen ungekocht.
Für die Sauce Tahini, Zitronensaft, Knoblauch, Salz, Pfeffer und Wasser zu einer relativ dünnflüssigen Sauce verrühren.

Die Bohnenfalafel in kleinen Mengen auf beiden Seiten goldbraun frittieren und anschießend auf Küchenpapier abtropfen lassen. Zusammen mit der Zitronen-Tahinisauce und einem Tomaten-Gurkensalat oder Fattoush ist dies ein leckeres Hauptgericht oder ein sehr leckerer Teil einer Vorspeisentafel (mezze).

Ideen für Mezze: Hummus, Fattoush, Auberginen-Tahini dip oder Moutabal, Fladenbrot, scharfer Möhrensalat, Baba Ganoush, Muhammara (scharfer Walnußdip), natürlich die Falafel hier, Dukkah, diese Indisch gewürzten Kichererbsen, Gurken-Minz-Salat, Blumenkohlpuffer








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