Egyptian Broad Bean and Fresh Mint Falafel

06/07/2009 at 20:01 Leave a comment

Broad Bean Falafel with Spicy Yoghurt Sauce and Salad

The best falafel I ever ate, came from a small Middle Eastern cafe in Berlin. These hot and crispy chickpea patties, full of delicious herbs and spices, were served with a huge array of sauces and salads. In particular, I remember an amazing taboule, made completely from fresh herbs and diced tomato. All this wrapped up inside a soft, freshly made flat bread (N.B.: this was well before my gluten-free days!). Most people when they think of falafel probably think of something made with chickpeas, similar to what I just described. In fact, they originate in Egypt, where they are made using raw, soaked and ground up broad beans (Foul Medammes) mixed with herbs and spices, and then deep fried. I have stepped away from tradition slightly in my recipe below. The broad beans are first boiled, and the falafel are then later baked, for a healthier twist.

Serve with a simple diced tomato, cucumber and fresh herb salad, and this spicy yoghurt sauce with coriander and lime.


4 cups Broad Beans ( measured after soaking, boiling and removing skins)
3 medium Carrots
1 medium Courgette
1 medium Onion (diced)
4 or 5 Spring Onions
4 Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)
3 tbsp Tamari
2 to 3 tsp Ground Coriander
juice of 2 Lemons
handful Fresh Mint
2 tbsp Tahini
about a 1/4 cup Olive Oil (for drizzling)

Preheat oven to 200ºc

How To Make

Soak the dried broad beans for two days in a bowl of water, rinse and refresh with clean water every now and again. Once the beans are fully re-hydrated, boil on a low heat until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Next, remove the outer skins (these should pop off easily if the beans are cooked enough), and discard. The broad beans are now ready to be used.

Into a large bowl grate 2 of the carrots and courgette. Peel and finely slice the spring onions, and add to the  bowl along with the onion and garlic.

Grated Carrot, Courgette and Spring Onion

Add the ground coriander, lemon juice and tamari to the mixture, and throw in the fresh mint.

Using a hand blender, blitz the mixture until it is homogenised. Finally, grate in the remaining carrot, and set the mixture aside. (If you have a large blender you can use that instead, I just happen to have a hand-held one.)

Put the broad beans in a separate bowl and blitz to a smooth paste.

Add the vegetable mixture to the bean paste, dollop the tahini on top and stir till completely mixed through.

The resulting batter should be firm enough to hold its shape on a spoon, but still moist. If it is too dry, the falafel will turn out very crumbly;  if it is too wet, they will not hold their shape or cook through properly. (If it is too wet, add extra broad bean paste (if there is any spare), or more tahini. If it is too dry, try adding an extra carrot or lemon juice.)

Falafel 'Batter'

Now, cover the falafel ‘batter’ and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

How To Cook

Cover an oven pan with tin foil ( you can first spray it with water if necessary, to help it stick in place). Drizzle on a small amount of olive oil, making sure all the foil is covered.

Using a dessert spoon, scoop up some of the falafel mix. Take a second spoon and cup it over the first. From back to front, scrape the mix onto the second spoon in one movement. Repeat this a few times until the falafel becomes something like the shape of a brazil nut: oval, with three flattened sides.

How To Shape Falafel

Place the falafel into the prepared oven pan. Repeat this until you have as many falafel as you need.

Bake in the oven for around 20-30 minutes, or until they are fairly firm and golden brown. Remove from the pan with a spatula. (For a crispier but less healthy version you could  deep fry these, dropping the shaped batter into very hot oil, until golden brown.)

Falafel Ready for Baking


Entry filed under: Patties, Recipes.

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