Falafel is not something I grew up with, but something I grew to love. Like most of us, I fell for it at street stalls and takeout joints – it’s not the sort of thing I thought to make at home, until about five years ago, when I discovered it’s about as easy to make as a batch of hummus. Truly! If you have a food processor, you can make falafel in about five minutes.
It requires a can of drained chickpeas (cheap), some garlic, onion, cilantro, salt and spices – go by taste and pulse it all into a mulch, adding a few tablespoons of flour to help bind the mixture together. (Any kind, really.) You can make them perfectly smooth, or leave some texture, which is what I do. A bit of baking powder lightens them up a bit.
Shape the soft mixture into little patties – you could do balls, but patties cook through more quickly, and more surface area means more crunchy bits. You can also get away with using less oil in your skillet. (These don’t need to be deep fried, as in submerged in oil, but having some oil hit the outside makes them irresistibly crunchy.)
They cook quickly – in just a few minutes – which makes these totally count as real food, fast. Lift them out with tongs onto a paper towel-lined plate and eat them warm, straight-up, with tzatziki or thick Greek yogurt spiked with lots of garlic, lemon juice, a spoonful of tahini and a big pinch of salt. Pitas optional.