Mom’s Falafel

I’m going to dive right into this blog post because there is SO much I feel I need to explain about this recipe. First things first, head to my IG @thechutneylife and watch my highlight labeled “falafel” before making this recipe! Second: this is my mom’s falafel recipe. Like traditional or “authentic” falafel, these are not made with chickpeas, but instead made with whole masoor dal, so I    guess they are technically “vada” or “dal vada” as us Gujaratis call them and aka lentil fritters. Important things :
  1. The consistency of the batter is the most important factor in this recipe and also the most difficult to explain with just words so again, head to @thechutneylife and check out my highlight labeled “Falafel” to see this in more detail.  
  2. If you’re serving these to a crowd- or just for ease- place all the chutneys in squeeze bottles-and label them so people can use as they please. Trust me- everyone always wants more sauce after  a few bites!
  3. After you fry your first batch of falafel, turn the heat on the oil down to medium and taste test. It takes A LOT of green chilis for the spice and flavor to come through. The falafel should be perfectly brown on the outside and cooked and soft on the inside. 
  4. If you need to add more garlic, or green chilis to the batter- crush the garlic and chilis up separately in a small chopper or by hand and then add them to the batter. Do not over mix the batter or try to reblend it.
What you should definitely do a day or two ahead:
  1. Soak the dal the night before. I  do not recommend pre making the falafel batter. They should be made the same day you are serving them.
  2. Make the white sauce and the red chutney one to two days ahead- makes life a little easier and flavors blend well.
  3. Peel all the garlic called for in the recipe ahead of time too.
Items you may need:
  1. I  use this Oxo Medium Size Cookie Scooper to drop the batter into hot oil, but it’s not neccesary- you can use two spoons to drop batter into the oil as well.
  2. Try using a basket utensil like this to move the falafel around in the oil and then scoop them up
  3. I use a mortar and pestle to grind sesame seeds, but you could also use tahini in place of this or use a coffee grinder, or rolling pin to crush the sesame seeds too.
Questions I  am anticipating:
  1. I   have not tried this recipe in the air fryer myself however if you form  balls from the batter and lay them on a greased sheet of parchment and freeze them for 24 hours- you can them place them in the air fryer from what others have suggested.
  2. You can replace vegan mayo with regular mayo in this recipe or omit completely and use only yogurt as the base
  3. Dry red chilis, masoor dal, and falafel pita can easily be found at a local Indian grocery store.
  4. I  used my Vitamix to make the red chutney but it would work just fine in a blender, or a Nutribullet as well. 
Happy Eating!!    

Mom's Falafel

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6-8 Servings

Ingredients

Falafel:

  • 2 cups whole masoor dal, soaked overnight in hot water
  • 14 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 15-20 serrano chilis, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp salt

White Sauce:

  • 2 cups Hellman's Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tbsp sriracha 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, crushed to a paste
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Red Sauce:

  • 3 red bell peppers, preferably dark red
  • 12 dried red chilis, soaked in hot water for minimum 3 hours, 
  • 1.5 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Toppings:

  • Pita Pockets
  • Chopped cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Diced Onions 
  • Chopped romaine lettuce

Instructions

For the Falafel

  1. Drain the soaked masoor dal in a colander completely. Transfer the dal to a food processor along with the serrano chilis and garlic cloves. Pulse the dal until you have a coarse mixture and the garlic and serranos have combined into the mixture well.
  2. Transfer the dal to a large bowl and set aside until you are ready to fry. 
  3. Once you are ready to fry, add the salt, sesame seeds and using your hand- stir the salt into the mixture. As you mix the salt the mixture will begin to release more liquid and become fluffier. 
  4. Fill a wide bottom pot with about 2 inches of canola oil and turn on to medium high heat. Once you think the oil is hot, drop a small pinch of batter in the oil, if it comes instantly to the top and starts to sizzle- the oil is hot and ready.
  5. Use a cookie scooper to loosely scoop batter and drop it into the oil. Keep adding more to the oil - but do not overcrowd. Leave space so with a slotted spoon, you can gently turn and flip the falafel to ensure even browning on all sides. Fry only a few as a test batch, first.
  6. Remove the falafel, with a large slotted spoon, onto a plate lined with paper towels. Lower the heat to medium and taste the falafel for salt, spice and make sure the inside is fully cooked. Adjust seasonings if needed.

For the white sauce:

  1. Place the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind them until you get as close to a paste like consistency. You can also use a small coffee grinder, or place the sesame seeds on a chopping board and use a rolling pin to crush them well. 
  2. Add the crushed sesame seeds to the mayo, and rest of the ingredients for the white sauce and combine everything well.

Red Sauce:

  1. Drain the water from the soaked red chilis. Add to a blender with rest of the ingredients and blend until completely smooth. 

Assembly:

  1. Spread the inside of a pita with the white sauce, add lettuce, add 3-4 falafel balls slightly smashed along with the toppings and more white and red sauce. 
         

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  • Hi Palak, I made these for New Year’s and everyone loved them! Thanks for sharing the recipe. One question, we had a lot of leftover batter. I see that you don’t recommend pre-making the batter so wanted to know your thoughts on if you have too much – would the taste/consistency change if we saved the batter and fried them up another day or would you recommend making the falafel all at once and reheat in oven when ready to eat?

    • Hey! The salt in the batter may make it more liquidy the longer it sits, and your falafels might be darker in color once the batter is in the fridge. Ideally, if you want to refrigerate or freeze the batter, its best to do it right after you place the lentils in the food processor and before any garlic, salt, or chilis are added! You can def try frying up a few the next day or two and see how it goes! You may not even notice a difference- it just depends. I wrote same day for optimal taste!

      • Thank you! I actually ended up air frying them 2 days later and still thought they tasted great. But will try your above suggestion the next time I make these. Thanks again!