Cooking for Shatner
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(adapted from Epicurious, where it was reprinted from The Foods of Israel Today)
1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch dried chili flakes
1/4 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour (plus extra, if needed)
1 tsp. baking powder
canola oil, for frying
Put the chick peas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt and chili flakes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined but not smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse until you have a soft mixture that you can roll into balls without sticking to your hands. Add another spoonful or so of flour, if you need to.
Roll the dough into meatball-sized balls, and if you like, flatten each into a little pattie. I like doing this for maximum surface area, which equals more crunch. (They also cook through more quickly as the distance between the middle to the exterior is shorter.)
In a shallow pot or skillet, heat about 1/2″ of canola oil until it's hot but not smoking. Test it with a bit of falafel mixture or a scrap of bread - the oil should bubble up around it. Cook the falafel for a few minutes per side, without crowding the pan (which will cool down the oil), until they are golden. Transfer to paper towels. (You could get away with using just a skiff of oil - if you do this, best to leave the falafels round, so that you can roll them around in the pan to brown all sides.)
Serve in pitas with tzatziki, chopped cucumber, purple onion and tomato.
Makes about 20 falafel balls or patties.