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Baked Falafel

Need tips to help me figure out where I went wrong. I wanted falafels and searched online for a whole bunch of recipes. I took the parts of each that I liked or had on hand. Looked great while mixing it. Smelled great while baking it. But then they came out too dry and burnt. Did I leave out something important? (Is the egg to keep it moist?) Any advice welcome.


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Baked Falafel
1 can chickpeas (15.5 oz), rinsed and drained
1 scallion, cleaned and minced
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika (spicy kind since that's what I have)
1 tsp baking powder [What does this do? I'm going to reduce to 1/2 tsp next time.]
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (optional)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg [I had left this out thinking the mixture was adhering to itself just fine. Should I have kept it for moisture?]

Preheat oven to 400 F
Mash chickpeas in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
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Divide mixture into one-inch balls; flatten each with your palm and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
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Bake 35 minutes and then flip over.
Continue baking another 15 minutes.

Yield: About 20-24 little patties.
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Mashing the chick peas was a pain. I imagine a food processor would've been much easier. Mixed well and formed little patties just fine. Baked in the oven and it started to smell great very quickly. But sadly I burnt them. And they were so dried out. I ate the entire batch anyhow. Just dipped them in hummus for the moisture. Next time I'll include the egg and bread crumbs. I thought the egg was just to make it stick together and it didn't seem to need that. Next time I'll use the egg to try to keep it more moist. And I'll drop the temperature to 375 F and just do 10 minutes each side to start. And maybe another 5 minutes each side as needed.

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Did you want a lower-fat version? All of the falafel I've ever made was pan fried or deep fried. That may have had something to do with it. It's my guess (but, I could be wrong).

I had wanted both lower fat and less active cooking time. If I fried I would've had to cook them in batches. Several of the recipes I looked at had mentioned baking so I had thought it would be ok. But maybe frying would've worked better.

Seconded on the frying. It's kind of a pain to have to do it in batches, but the flavor and texture work so much better.

If you wind up making this work in the oven, though, please share!

I got several suggestions to try next time. (lower the temperature, bake for a shorter time, make the patties thicker, and include the egg) And then I think I'll bake some and fry some on the next batch just to do side-by-side comparisons.

I've never added baking powder or eggs. I bake them and they come out fine. I'm wondering actually if the baking powder didn't have something to do with it. It seems like an odd ingredient. I've always prepared falafel as if it was going to be fried but I instead just flatten the patties and bake them. I don't rinse the garbanzos (chick peas). I loosely drain the liquid, but leave them slightly moist (I do give a whirl in a food processor) and keep some of the liquid aside in case the mixture seems too dry- along with a splash of lemon. Other than that, the recipe looks fine.

Thanks. How long do you bake yours for? I think I'll leave out the baking powder next time. Lemon juice sounds like a nice addition.

Baking powder should have given them a lighter texture and you definitely need the egg. The only moisture comes from the cooked chick peas and any water they had evaporated in the baking. Baking dries things out so I vote for including the egg and frying even at a higher fat and calorie content.

There was very little that I would've considered 'light' in the texture but that might've been due to overbaking them. Would I need to let the mixture sit so it can get lighter? (or is it not like yeast?) Next time I think I'll fry some and bake some so I can compare. Thanks!

No, it doesn´t work like yeast. It won´t rise beforehand. I think overbaking or maybe a too hot oven? might have made them harder than theyshould have been. That and lack of moisture.

I usually bake mine (I use a mix, gasp---I get lazy sometimes) and they turn out fine. I agree with omitting the baking powder though---they don't really need to rise. And I did it on parchment paper, didn't oil the cookie sheet.

The other option I've done is to make them small and panfry in a very small amount of oil to make them healthier.

Topped with good tzatziki sauce they are great (maybe I just like tzatzkiki, eh?).

One former roommate had used a mix when introducing me to falafel and it tasted great (though he had pan fried them). So with parchment paper, you don't need to spray cooking oil on it? It feels like paper and I keep worrying it's going to catch on fire in the oven. I don't like that white sauce that goes with falafel. I used to not like white foods. I don't know if it was the color white or that just a lot of things I didn't like happened to be white: mayonnaise, whipped cream, that falafel sauce, mushrooms (those white button ones, and by extension all mushrooms), horseradish, squid... I used to be a much pickier eater. :) Some of those things I still won't eat but I've been slowly incorporating them into my diet over the years.

I too feared parchment paper would burst into flames but it never does. With longer things it gets a bit tan around the edges, but it is invaluable in my kitchen to bake more lightly and for super easy cleanup.

What if you try brushing/spraying the patties with just a little olive oil next time? The thin coat might prevent them from getting so dry.

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