For Indians, falafel is nothing but an arabic version of Masal Vadai. Masal vadai has Channa dal as its base where as falafel has chickpea as it is base. Falafel, similar to masala vadai has onions & coriander leaves. However, what sets the flavour apart (apart from the base difference) is the addition of parsley leaves, lemon juice & cumin powder. The more I am reading up on Arabic cooking, I am realising how much they use cumin powder. I was quite surprised honestly. I thought cumin seeds/ powder is very native to Indian cooking. Once, you start making different cuisines (and ofcourse, appreciate each cuisine for what they are), you will also notice the similarities & differences. Differences – always expected and no surprises there. The similarties sometimes can be mind blowing. D makes fun of me when I call the Pesto as ‘Italian chutney’ or the baba ghanoush as ‘Arabic kathrikai thogayal’. But honestly, that’s quite literally what it is. Similar ingredients (comparable ingredients in this case), similar process but entirely different taste because of the flavour ingredients used. I somehow always find this intriguing and hope to discover many such similarties between dishes of different cuisines in the future :). For now, make this Arabic masal vadai and stuff your face please. It’s yumm. I just tried to add that bit of health twist by not deep frying and instead shallow frying. My mil was asking me to deep fry it since it was occasional. Somehow, heart didn’t allow me to do it that day – few days when my heart says the right thing wrt food and fewer days when my brain actually listens to my heart in these scenarios :).

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Passive Time
4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 4 persons
  • 3/4 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 no onion
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • 4 pods garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chickpea/ besan flour
  • 6 tbsp refine oil (for shallow frying)
  1. Rinse & soak chickpeas in water for 8-10 hours (best left overnight). 

  2. In a blender, place the soaked chickpea (don't add extra water) and start pulsing by adding some salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder, black pepper powder & lemon juice.

  3. Add a tbsp of water at a time to aid the grinding process. We don't want a soggy and wet mixture. We want a firm mixture so that it will hold up while frying/ baking/ shallow frying. 

  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl & add chopped up fresh parsley & coriander leaves. Add the finely chopped onion & garlic. Give everything a mix. Check & adjust for salt at this stage. 

  5. Finally add 1-2 tbsp of chickpea/ besan flour & mix up. 

  6. Take about an inch size of the mixture and using your hands roll it into a ball and flatten it to resemble a disc.  Grease your hands lightly before starting this. 

  7. Shallow fry them a few at a time (takes a maximum of 3-4 per batch) in medium high heat. 

  8. Dab the excess oil off using a kitchen towel/ napkin.

  9. yummy nummy falafels ready to be merged into the world of an arabic platter. 

Recipe Notes
  1. You can deep fry these falafels instead of shallow frying. will taste way better. I just felt like shallow frying that day since the whole platter was slightly on the healthier side. 
  2. If you are deep frying, you can make the falafel a little fatter. Since I was shallow frying them, I made them flat since I was anyways going to crumble the falafel in a pita pocket/ lettuce. 
  3. This is an extremely kid friendly dish that is also very healthy. 

Stepwise pictures

Rinse and soak chickpeas in water for 8-10 hours (best left overnight). In a blender, place the chickpeas (don’t add extra water). To this, add cumin powder, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, some salt, garlic & salt.

Pulse by not adding any water & gradually add a tbsp of water at a time to aid the grinding process. What we are looking for is a firm mixture and not a wet one.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl & throw in the chopped parsley, coriander leaves, finely chopped onion, garlic & mix well. Also add 1-2 tbsp of chickpea/ besan flour at this stage.

Take about 1 inch of the mixture and roll it into ball shape and flatten it into a disc shape using your hands (grease your hands lightly before doing this).

Shallow fry the falafel (a few at a time) in a pan on medium high for 3-4 minutes till the falafel turns a nice golden brown. Serve them along with pita pockets/ lettuce.



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