Falafel is typically made with dried chickpeas, but Michael Mina's seasonal version uses sweet English peas and earthy fava beans.
Based on his mother’s tried-and-true recipe, Michael’s falafel are crunchy on the outside and soft and tasty within. A combination of fresh herbs and earthy ground spices give the falafel their depth of flavor. The fritters get a touch of heat from red pepper flakes and a pungent kick from garlic and scallions.
- Fava-power. The natural starch in the fava binds the falafel so there’s no need to dull the flavor with lots of flour in the mixture. That said, you’ll still need to coat each falafel with a little flour before frying so they get nice and crispy on the outside.
- Buzz kill. Try not to pulverize the falafel in the food processor. Buzz the falafel until it holds together in a patty, but don’t totally destroy the toothsome texture of the fresh favas and peas.
- Chill out. Refrigerate the formed falafel mixture for at least an hour before frying. This will firm up the texture and make it easier for you to press into patties.
These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.
- Food processor. By pulsing the mixture in a food processor – turning the chopping blade on and off again – you can leave some chunks of fava beans and peas in the mix. Using a blender could result in over-mixing here, which would leave you with an undesirably gluey purée.
- Ice cream scoop. Using a small (ideally 2-ounce) ice cream scoop will ensure uniformly sized falafel. Press the mixture into the ice cream scoop, remove it and flatten it into patties by hand. Evenly sized falafel will look better and cook evenly, too.
The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.
Cast iron skillet or large sauté pan
Small ice cream scoop
Plate or baking sheet
Rack over small baking sheet
Spider or slotted spoon
- 2 cups shelled, blanched and peeled fresh fava beans (or frozen green chickpeas, defrosted)
- 1/2 cup English peas, shelled and blanched (or frozen peas, defrosted)
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped dill
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 scallions, green parts only, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon toasted & ground cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup Wondra flour
- Grapeseed oil
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Active time: 30 minutes
- Make sure that favas and peas (or chickpeas and peas) are well drained on paper towels. It is important that the ingredients are dry. This will ensure that the mixture binds properly.
- Add favas, peas, parsley, dill, cilantro, scallions and garlic to food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and pulse again until the mixture comes together. The mixture should still have some small chunks but be thoroughly mixed. You can tell that it is mixed enough when it comes together in your hand without crumbling. Transfer to large bowl.
- Stir in cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Use a 2-ounce scoop (about 2 to 3 tablespoons) to form balls of the mix. Press the balls firmly into patties, making sure there are no cracks around the edge. At this point you can fry one patty in 375°F oil to make sure that the mix is seasoned properly.
- Hold the patties on a medium-sized baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the patties for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
- Right before frying the falafel, place Wondra flour on a baking sheet or baking dish. Gently coat the falafel patties in the Wondra, dusting off excess flour.
- Set a large cast iron skillet or a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add ½ to ¾ inch grapeseed or canola oil. Heat oil to 375°F. Add 4 patties at a time to the oil and cook on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the falafel and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Season with salt. It is important not to overcrowd the pan when frying the falafel. Fry them in batches so that there are at least 2 inches around each one. You can reuse the oil 2 to 3 times. In between batches, scoop out any floating pieces from the oil and make sure to maintain an oil temperature of 375°F.
- Serve the falafel as part of a meal or on their own. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice is the perfect accompaniment.
Falafel wrap with Mediterranean yogurt
For a fun Mediterranean fix, mix yogurt with cucumber and dill. Spread on a pita and place the falafel inside to make a beloved street food treat at home.