This falafel recipe is based on Leon’s and the pumpkin falafel recipe in The Extra Virgin Kitchen. Deep-frying falafel may taste good, but isn’t recommended for our waistlines and arteries. Shame. More alarmingly, deep-frying food can make our mouth feel like a camel’s armpit. Luckily Leon designed theirs to be baked.
Here’s a quick video of me cooking them live on TV3.
This vegetable’s buttery flesh is stuffed with goodness. There’s potassium for hangovers, vitamins A and C to slay superbugs (think Uma Therman in Kill Bill) and even extra carotenoids for those who can’t afford to keep up their Botox installments.
That’s a lot of ammunition for an oul spud.
This morning I found 6 sweet potatoes for 1.20 in my local four-letter German supermarket, so I splashed out on dried mulberries and goji berries too. You’ll dig the unexpected nuggets of chewiness these superfoods bring to falafel (as well as their stash of nutrients).
around 500g cooked & mashed sweet potato
125g-200g of chickpea flour (aka gram or garbanzo flour)
2 handfuls wild garlic leaves, finely chopped*
squeeze of lemon
2 tablespoons chopped spring onions
Fistful of dried mulberries and goji berries (optional nonsense)
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
Pinch of dried chilli flakes or 1 diced red chilli
black sesame seeds, to garnish
fresh coriander, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F.
This recipe isn’t a science. You’re aiming for the falafel to be one-third chickpea flour. It’s really that simple, so use whatever amount of sweet potato you have, and adjust the recipe as appropriate.
We regularly bake a tray of sweet potatoes in their jackets at 200 Celsius (180 fan) for 40-80 minutes, depending on their size. They will keep cooked for 3 or 4 days in the fridge, or will freeze once mashed. Just make sure the potatoes are overcooked rather than undercooked.
First, line a baking tray with parchment or grease with a lick of olive oil.
Using clean hands, mash all the falafel ingredients (except the black sesame seeds) together. Keep the onions and garlic out if toddlers intend on looting the batch.
Put the falafel mix in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to firm up. Mould into falafels and place on the lined baking tray. I find an ice cream scoop is the best way to shape falafel. If you use teaspoons and patience, you’ll double the portions and halve the baking time. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and cook in the oven for 20-45 minutes, depending on their size.
Try serving alongside coconut or Greek yoghurt, smooth hummus or a big bowl of peas. The messier, the better.
* if you can’t find wild garlic leaves by a river near you, or in a savvy deli this time of year, grate some raw garlic cloves instead and add fresh coriander or smashed coriander seed. That should do the trick!