1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder*
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato, diced onion and diced green pepper for garnish
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder* and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Place into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets. (I made mine flat.)
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test**. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahini thinned with water. For more flavor, add a little fresh lemon juice to tahini.
*I skipped baking powder.
**I formed falafel into flattened patties and did not need more than an inch of oil.