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Israeli Chickpea Croquettes (Falafel)

Falafel are spicy chickpea croquettes. The original Egyptian variety contained dried white broad beans and were called ta'amia. In Israel, chickpeas were substituted for the broad beans. Falafel are delicious served stuffed inside split Middle Eastern Round Bread (Pita) dressed with Tahini Sauce or Hummus and accompanied by green salad.

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: 14 to 16 falafel


11/4 cups (310 ml) chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
3/4 cup (185 ml) finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) baking powder
oil for deep-frying

1. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and mince finely. Scrape the minced chickpeas into a bowl. Fold in the herbs, spices, salt, and baking powder. Mix well, knead, and leave for 30 minutes.

2. Form the mixture into 14 to 16 falafel balls. If they're too sticky, roll the falafel in a little flour. Repeat until all the mixture is rolled.

3. Fill a heavy pan or wok with ghee or oil to a depth of 6.5 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches). Heat until moderately hot 180C/355F. Deep-fry 6 to 8 falafels at a time, turning when required, for 5 or 6 minutes, or until they're evenly golden brown.

4. Remove and drain on paper towels. Cook all the falafel. Serve hot, as recommended above.