Falafel Cooked in Harissa Olive Oil

1 Cup dried chickpeas (or canned & drained)
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 Cup)
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp Salt
1/2 – 1 tsp Red Chili Flakes
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp baking powder
4-6 Tbsp Bulgur wheat (or flour)
Harissa Olive Oil for frying*

If cooking from scratch, put the cup of chickpeas in a large bowl, adding just enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Allow chickpeas to soak overnight, then drain the water from the bowl. (Or, if you use canned chickpeas, rinse and drain them in a colander).

Transfer the drained, uncooked chickpeas to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal puree blade, along with the chopped onions. Add the fresh parsley and cilantro, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic, and cumin. Pulse / process until chick pea mixture is blended but not totally pureed. (A little bit lumpy is good).

Sprinkle the baking powder and 4 Tbsp of the bulgur or flour onto the chickpea mixture, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that, when you handle it, the dough makes a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Scrape dough from food processor into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

Form the chilled chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts. Using a heavy-bottomed frying pan or a wok (or a deep-fryer, if you have one), heat 3 inches of oil to 375F degrees. (Use an oil/candy thermometer to accurately check the temperature of the oil).

Fry 1 dough ball to test the consistency of the batter. If the falafel falls apart while frying, add a little flour. When desired consistency is achieved, fry the falafel, about 6 balls at a time, a few minutes on each side, or until entire piece is golden brown. Remove falafel from hot oil with a heatproof slotted spoon (or other appropriate tool), and drain on a plate lined with several paper towels.

To serve: Stuff half a pita with freshly-cooked falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and (to be really authentic) pickled turnips.

Adapted from epicurious.

*(this will add a lot of yummy heat but if you’re apprehensive about making things too spicy, maybe cook in a blend of  1/2 Harissa Olive Oil &  1/2 some sort of neutral cooking oil (Grapeseed is good) or an unflavored olive oil)