Hannibal Lecter loved them. Pythagoras hated them. Fava beans. Although siding with fictional serial killer characters isn’t really my thing, I’m with Dr. Lecter on this one. These beans are fantastic, rich and buttery. They can be served fresh and sauteed, are convenient when dried and even taste delicious in their canned form. I scored a few cups of dried fava at Whole Foods the other week and decided to make falafel out of them with great success. These are light and fluffy, and are perfectly crisp on the outside. Although these are traditionally served with a tahini dressing, I’ve paired it here with a sriracha-vegenaise sauce to give it a spicy-garlicky kick.
SPICY FAVA BEAN FALAFEL
Yield 2 servings
- 1 1/4 cup dried fava beans, picked over and soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, picked over and soaked overnight
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 TB chickpea flour (preferably stored in the freezer overnight to chill)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp habanero or cayenne powder
- 1 TB cumin
- 1 TB coriander
- vegetable oil
- 1/8 cup Vegenaise, mixed with 1/8 cup sriracha
- Drain the water off of the fava beans (they should have a rubbery consistency and their tough leathery outer shells should be easy to remove.) Throw away any fava beans that have not softened. Discard the shells and transfer the small white beans to a food processor. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the food processor. Pulse a few times only.
- Add in the next eight ingredients and pulse until the ingredients have blended, but are still slightly coarse. Transfer the batter to a medium-sized bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours.
- In a small and deep saucepan, pour plenty of vegetable oil (enough to submerge the falafel in). Heat the oil over medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes. While you are waiting for the oil to heat up, roll the falafel into golf-ball sized pieces and set aside.
- Throw a pinch of the batter into the oil to test its readiness. If it sizzles immediately, you are ready to fry.
- Working in batches, slowly submerge the falafel into the oil and fry for about 3 minutes, or until the falafel is golden brown. (I use a skimmer, but a large heat-resistant spoon works well too.)TIP! Since the batter is cold, it is best to only fry a few at a time. Frying large batches will reduce the temperature of your oil and you’ll end up with a soggy mess.
- Immediately transfer the fried falafel onto paper towels to drain. The used oil may be cooled, strained and stored in the refrigerator and used a few more times before being discarded.
- Serve with the sriracha-vegenaise dressing or a tahini sauce.