For optimum texture and flavor, use dried chickpeas—never the canned variety—to make felafel. In Egypt, felafel (known there as ta'amia) is made with dried fava beans, and when Anwar Sadat came to Israel in 1977 many felafel makers honored him by preparing the snack in the Egyptian way.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 8 hours or overnight
- 2 tbsp. fine-grain bulgur
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 3 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- Pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- Pinch turmeric, or more to taste (optional)
- 1⁄8-1⁄4 tsp. cardamom seeds (optional)
- Vegetable oil
Drain chickpeas, then put into the bowl of a food processor and grind, scraping sides with a rubber spatula as needed, until chickpeas are the texture of cornmeal. Mixture should just hold together when pressed between your thumb and forefinger. Transfer ground chickpeas to a large bowl. Add bulgur, onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro, salt, cumin, coriander, baking powder, pepper, cayenne, and, if you like, turmeric and cardamom seeds. Mix well, then stir in 2 tbsp. water. Cover bowl and set aside for 30-60 minutes.
Pour oil into a medium pot to a depth of 2'' and heat over medium heat until it reaches 350° on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, with wet hands, shape chickpea mixture into 24 1½-inch balls. Working in batches, fry felafel until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. To serve, stuff 3-4 hot felafels into a pita half and spoon some zehug yarok (green hot sauce) and some tehinah over the top, if you like.
Variations: For sesame felafel, spread about ½ cup sesame seeds on a dish. Flatten chickpea-mixture balls, made according to recipe above, into patties, then gently press both sides into seeds. Proceed with recipe, frying for only 2-3 minutes. For Egyptian ta'amia, substitute dried fava beans for dried chickpeas and proceed with recipe.