Falafel is a staple recipe across the Middle East and North Africa, so it is no surprise that the recipe varies greatly from region to region. I have posted two versions of falafel before, 5 bean and almond falafel, and the falafel wraps I made when I was catering at Rumbellion Festival. Both recipes I followed no specific ingredient list, process or regional variation. I just added what I had available in my cupboards and went on taste and memory.
This falafel recipe however was given to me from my Egyptian friend Malak and her mum, so it is as authentic as it gets. The difference between Egyptian falafel and the recipes I have had before is that this recipe uses dried butter beans (also known as lima beans) instead of chickpeas. The falafel is also strikingly green due to the fresh herbs of parsley, coriander and dill used.
I served the falafel in a wholemeal wheat wrap, tahini and lemon sauce, hot sauce, a homemade yoghurt dressing, tomato avocado and spinach (perhaps not as authentic as the Egyptian falafel, but still delicious). Another excellent addition would be some homemade houmous. The recipe makes around 40 falafel balls (Serves 6-8). Any excess can be frozen before frying for future deliciousness.
- 500g Dried Butter/Lima Beans
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 2 Medium Onions
- 1 Bulb Garlic
- Large bunch each of Parsley, Dill and Coriander
- 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
- 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
- Large pinch of Salt and Pepper
- Oil (either enough to deep fry as traditional, or shallow fry in 1cm oil as I did)
- Soak the butterbeans in double the amount of water with the bicarbonate of soda overnight/ 24 hours. Drain and rinse.
- Chop the onions and garlic and herbs (stalks included)
- In a food processor, add all the ingredients and blend.
- Shape the mixture into ping pong sized balls and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
- In a wide, heavy bottomed frying pan add the oil and heat to a high temperature.
- Add the falafel balls to the pan and fry for 10-12 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.