My frequently-mentioned friend C has a Classics degree. She graduated from Glasgow Uni last year. Now she wants to be a hairdresser. It’s a slightly odd wish, but I think that, even if you don’t necessarily need it, it never hurts to have a uni degree, so if she wants to pursue a career in the world of hairdressing, she should. (Although I think it might be a phase induced by the alarming unemployment among Classics graduates.)
She practices her skills on her own hair and sometimes on mine, and it has to be said: she’s awfully good. Perhaps not in a traditional hairdressing kind of way, but certainly in her own. She’s made hair rollers out of empty juice cans. She’s coiffed her fringe up into a pompadour that stayed up for four days. She’s gone from turquoise to blonde to red-head to brunette. And she’s dyed my hair 8 different colours: black on top, and a full seven-coloured rainbow underneath that only becomes visible when I wear my hair up. She really is quite the artist.
Since my sonic rainboom took her a fair amount of time and she used her own hairdye, I offered to repay her for her services with something nice, like drinks, or food, or a favour in return. Surprisingly, as a reward she asked me for a good falafel recipe. I told her I’d write a good one up and send it to her as soon as I got home.
That was 3 months ago. I still haven’t done it. By now, she’s already re-dyed my hair 2 times, and tomorrow she’ll be redying it again. I’m the worst kind of friend, and I don’t deserve swanky hair. But that won’t stop her, I’m sure. So here’s the recipe. Finally.
For 15 to 20 balls:
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 2 spring onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- handful of chopped fresh flat parsley
- heaped tbsp of ground cumin
- flat tbsp of ground coriander
- 2 tbsp flour
- salt and pepper
Drain the chickpeas, put them in a pot with some fresh water and salt, boil for a few minutes. They won’t need long. Drain them, let them cool and dry them well.
Roughly chop the spring onion, the garlic and the parsley, put in a bowl. Once the chickpeas are dry and cool, add them. Add the spices, salt and pepper, and the flour. Mash it up with a hand blender (or, if you don’t have one, chuck the whole mixture in a food processor). You can taste the paste for salt and other spices and see what you think straight away, or if you prefer, you can roll one ball first and then taste that one. Either way, make sure the taste’s alright before you deep-fry the whole batch.
Now roll little balls out of the mixture, a little smaller than a golf ball, and a little flatter.
Heat some oil in a pan, test for temperature by chucking in a tiny little piece of falafel dough – if it starts bubbling, the oil should be hot enough. Now fry the falafels until they are golden brown on the outside. Put them on a plate with some paper tissue.
Serve them in pitas with some salad, chopped spring onion, tomato, feta, olives, jalapeños, slices of cucumber, pickled gherkins or anything you like, and some garlic sauce (3 tbsp yoghurt, 2 tsp mayonnaise, 3 cloves of garlic, crushed or grated).