Fava bean falafel

by Jenny Chandler

Jenny Chandler, demo chef and UN pulse ambassador, shares her take on the classic snack

These can be dished up in the traditionally manner—opening up a pitta bread and dropping in the falafel with a salad of crisp lettuce, cucumber and tomato, some tarator sauce and a dash of chilli—but they’re also perfect served as an accompaniment to drinks, with a little tatziki or harissa to dip into. It’s worth making a double quantity and freezing some of the mixture to shape at a later date—ready shaped frozen falafel tend to break up in the pan, but they can be brushed with oil and baked in a hot oven.


300g dried, split fava beans, soaked in cold water for 24 hours
1 small chilli, finely chopped, or a good pinch of cayenne pepper
6 spring onions, finely chopped,
2 cloves of garlic, crushed, or a large handful of wild garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1 large handful of parsley, chopped
1 large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsp chickpea flour (also known as gram flour)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Sunflower or olive oil for frying


Drain the beans and place them in a food processor with all the remaining ingredients bar the oil. Now whizz everything up to a green paste, stopping when you have a sticky but still slightly granular texture. Pounding and mincing by hand is an option but you’d have to be super-keen.

Taste and balance the seasoning and then leave the mixture to rest for about half an hour.

Now for the production line: scoop spoonfuls of the paste, roll it into walnut-sized balls, flatten them slightly and place on a tray. Continue until you have finished the mixture, but don’t be tempted to upsize otherwise the centre will never cook through.

Heat enough oil to deep fry your falafel a few at a time (180C if you have a thermometer). Test with one first—the oil should sizzle around it. Add the falafel in batches and cook for about 4-5 mins until deep gold. Serve while hot.

ALTERNATIVE: if deep frying is just not your thing I have had reasonable success shallow frying too, you will obviously have to turn the falafel but also extend the cooking time a little to ensure that the centre cooks through.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler