Ali El Chami prepares traditional Lebanese dishes at his restaurant, Ali's, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. This is part of the Cooking Channel's "Cooking it Old School" series, part 02.
Recipe courtesy of Ali El Chami

Ali El Chami's Falafel

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Falafel is a classic Middle Eastern fast food. It's like a fried meatball, but completely vegetarian.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 8 hr 45 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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  1. Drain the chickpeas. In a meat grinder or food processor, process the garlic and onion until coarsely chopped. Add the chickpeas, spices, salt and pepper. Process until finely ground. Add the baking soda and pulse to mix. Be careful not to let the chickpeas become a paste. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In the processor, process the herbs until very fine. Add to the chickpeas and stir well. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook or up to 3 days.
  3. To cook, add the oil to large skillet to about 1/4-inch deep, or use a deep fryer as directed. Place the skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering hot. For each falafel, scoop 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture and shape into mounded patties. Place in the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until deep brown and crisp on one side before turning to cook the other side, about 2 minutes per side. Replace oil as needed so that patties are half submerged as they cook.
  4. Place 4 to 5 falafels onto each plate. Accompany as desired with hummus, sliced tomatoes, pickled turnips, fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

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