Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Chickpeas (Garbanzo bean)

Often associated with Egypt and the middle East, this bean (it is not a pea) has taken on a worldwide flavour and is popular in the form of Falafels. They are a very good source of protein as are other legumes especially when eaten in combination with a grain. Legumes tend to be poor in the amino acid methionine but rich in lysine with the opposite being the case with grains. Hence the combination results in all the amino acids necessary for the formation of various proteins by the body. 
It is important to remember that legumes need to be soaked prior to cooking in order to eliminate toxic substances found in the raw state. Chickpeas should be soaked for 8 to 12 hours (long soak) or for one hour (short soak) after boiling them for two minutes and then allowing to soak for the hour.
Food processor
Heavy based saucepan or frypan
Slotted spoon or wire basket

2  cups soaked chick peas
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 tablespoon coriander (cilantro) leaves  (optional)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup fine grain bulgar wheat *
½ cup bakers wholemeal flour *
1-2 teaspoon salt
Sunflower or other light oil, for frying

- In a bowl, pour enough boiling water over bulgar wheat to just cover it. Place a plate on top of bowl and allow to stand 30 minutes until water is absorbed.

- Place soaked and drained chickpeas, garlic, coriander, cumin, parsley, coriander leaves and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth. Mixture needs to be just moist , add a little water if needed.

- Transfer  to a large bowl and add bulgar wheat, wholemeal flour and salt. Mix until well combined. 

- Using wet hands, take tablespoons of mixture and shape into balls, flatten to form 5cm rounds. Put them on a plate and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

- * Pour enough oil, about 2 cups  into a heavy-based saucepan or frypan,  and heat.  To test if oil is ready, drop a cube of bread into the oil - it should turn brown in about 15 seconds. Turn heat down to medium.  Place falafels, a few at a time into the oil and cook until light golden in colour, usually about 3-5 minutes. 

- Use a slotted spoon to remove balls and drain on paper towels. Better still use a wire basket if you have one.

Makes between 20 to 30 falafels.

Serve hot or cold with tahini sauce, hummus or baba ghannouj , pita bread and salad.

Falafels may be frozen in their raw state.  Take from the freezer amount required, thaw at room temperature, then follow step -* above.

Tahini sauce.

½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 medium size cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 teaspoon flat leaf (Italian) parsley finely chopped
salt to taste
¼ teaspoon light agave syrup * (optional)

Place all ingredients except the parsley in a blender, preferably with a small bowl and blend. Add a little water at a time until mixture becomes thick and creamy. Add parsley, season with salt and adjust flavors according to your taste. 

*  Fine grain bulgar wheat is  a quick cooking form of whole wheat that has been parboiled, dried and crushed . Excellent source of fibre, minerals and vitamins. Found in health food stores or delicatessen.

*  Bakers wholemeal flour is a light flour with particles of bran through it. Available from health food store. Use unbleached plain flour  if unable to obtain Bakers wholemeal flour.

*  Agave syrup is a sweetener used in place of honey or sugar. Honey has  a strong distinct flavor and taste and will not suit.

Posted by Yiannoulla Burness

1 comment:

  1. Works well with quik oats instead of bulghar wheat (soaked in hot water for 5mins instead of 30) and barley flour instead of wholemeal - great for the wheat intolerant!
    Yummy, thank you!


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