I am slowing working my way through the Middle Eastern “classics” which appear on the pages of Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. I have yet to even make a start on the delights on the pages of his latest book Plenty More. As a vegetarian for many years I am very familiar with Falafel and have eaten them all over the world. I have often made them at home from the packet mix but until now had not made them from scratch. 

Today is the day and rather than just recreating Ottolenghi’s recipe I have put my own twist on it… adding extra herbs, preserved lemon and baking them as opposed to deep frying. All in all, I am very happy with how these turned out and would encourage you all to try these for yourself. 

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Herby Preserved Lemon Oven Baked Falafel
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  1. 250g dried chickpeas
  2. 1/2 medium red onion
  3. 1 garlic clove
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  5. 4 tablespoons chopped coriander
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped preserved lemon
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  10. 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  11. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  12. 1 1/2 tablespoons wholemeal plain flour
  13. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  14. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  15. 50g toasted sesame seeds for coating
  1. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold filtered water at least twice their volume. Set aside to soak overnight.
  2. The next day drain the chickpeas thoroughly.
  3. Add the chickpeas to your food processor with the diced onion, crushed garlic, chopped preserved lemon, chopped parsley and coriander.
  4. Blitz gradually in your food processor using the pulse setting. You want the consistency to resemble fine breadcrumbs and not to be mushy or pasty.
  5. Once processed turn out into a bowl and add the spices, baking powder, salt and flour and mix well by hand.
  6. Cover the mixture and leave in the fridge for an hour or until ready to use.
  7. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degC.
  8. Line a baking tray with greased baking paper.
  9. Press 1-2 tbsp of the mixture into the palm of your hand and make a small ball, pressing together well to prevent them breaking apart.
  10. Roll lightly in the toasted sesame seeds and place on the baking tray.
  11. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each ball with a small amount of olive oil.
  12. Bake for 30-40min or until crispy on the outside and hot and soft on the inside.
  13. Serve in a Pita with salad and baba ganoush, or as part of a salad.
  14. Makes 16-20 balls.
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