Like any Indian, I love a good cutlet. And grey, windy rainy afternoons are always better enjoyed with a nice warm crispy snack like a cutlet.
My mother in law makes fantastic cutlets. She makes them with chicken, tuna, mutton, veg- you name it. And I’ve seen how much effort she takes. It is a half-day-long process: between seasoning and cooking the meat & potatoes, to making the cutlet mash and putting everything together with breadcrumbs before frying. It takes effort, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.
But on a regular day when I am looking for a quick fix, these falafels are perfect. Here’s the thing:
- I have eaten falafel often enough. (I used to eat falafel wraps for lunch often at my first job.)
- I have seen how it is made.
- I know what you need to make it.
- Yet, I never considered making it at home!
I saw the recipe in the May issue of BBC Good Food India, and I thought: this is too simple to not attempt. It calls for a handful of ingredients that are easily available in the supermarket and which you probably already have in your pantry. Most Indian homes will have chickpeas or kabuli channa in stock, so that’s the core ingredient taken care of. Cumin: check. Chilli powder: check. Garlic: check. Parsley: I didn’t have any, so I used cilantro instead. (Cilantro, garlic, chilli and cumin go quite well together- Indian curries usually have all in varying degrees!) I also used a combination of plain flour and chickpea flour to get it nice and crisp on the surface.
So the next time you think of soaking your channa for chhole, try this instead 🙂
CILANTRO FALAFEL (Adapted from BBC Good Food India May 2013 Issue)
- 200 grams chickpeas, boiled and drained
- 1-3 garlic cloves, depending on how you like it
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/2 tablespoon plain flour
- 1/2 tablespoon chickpea flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for frying
- Put the garlic and cilantro in a blender/food processor and pulse till roughly chopped.
- Add the chickpeas, cumin, chilli powder, flours, salt and pepper and blend till everything is semi-smooth.
- Take the mixture out of the blender/food processor. Shape into balls, then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry the falafels for about 3 minutes on each side.