This popular Middle-Eastern street food, falafel quickly became my all-time favorite snack when I first tasted this dish in Washington DC several years back. Mashed chickpeas spiced with garlic, coriander, parsley, formed into balls and deep fried…yum, yum!! Back then, anything savory and deep fried I was all for it!
Today it’s a different ball game. I am still a big fan for flavor in my food the only twist is I try to make it healthier and miraculously the taste is never compromised and in most cases it turns out much better!
I call this Vedic falafel as I was inspired to use super healthy mung beans instead of regular chickpeas along with ayurvedic spices. Ayurveda regards mung beans as ‘king’ of all beans. Mung beans help balance all three doshas in our bodies so it is naturally tridoshic and the best part about these beans is it’s easily digested in our bodies in addition to removing toxins along the way.
In the US we generally find falafels made with chickpeas but when I visited Dubai, UAE, came to know traditional falafels are made of fava beans and not chickpeas! So, they tasted quite different from what we are used to eating in the US – they were more robust in flavor from all the spices used and fava beans definitely gave a different texture to what I was used to eating here.
Let’s get started with the falafels – a vedic version! This dish doesn’t require a long list of spices. The combination of cumin and coriander seeds keep the flavor authentic in these mung bean falafels.
Mung Bean Falafel Recipe
This recipe makes approx 4-6 falafels.
- 1 cup of soaked (overnight) Mung Beans
- 1 small Onion chopped
- 2-3 cloves of Garlic
- 1/2 cup of chopped Cilantro and Parsley
- 1-2 tsp each Cumin Seeds and Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp each Red Pepper flakes and Turmeric
- 3-5 tsp Potato Starch (optional – this helps to bind them into patties and give a crispy texture)
- Salt to taste
I prefer cooking soaked mung beans lightly as they are much easier to digest. The best and fastest way to cook any kind of beans/legumes is in a pressure cooker. You could use a stockpot to cook these beans to make sure you don’t make them mushy. In a food processor add all the ingredients mentioned above (except potato starch) along with cooked mung beans and grind this into a coarse texture. Please make sure you use a food processor and not a high speed blender like Vitamix for this recipe.
Mix this coarse mixture with potato starch to form falafel balls. Potato starch is completely optional to use, I like to use it as its easier to bind all the ingredients together to form a ball and it also gives a nice crispy texture to the falafel since I am not planning on deep frying them.
Once you form all the balls keep them in the fridge for about 30-40 mins to set and firm up. It’s easier to saute these balls on a skillet once they are firmed up in the fridge and require very little oil to saute, which is always a good thing, right?
I like to flatten these balls a little and make them more like a patty, this helps to cook the falafels thoroughly inside and out.
Take your skillet and place it on a low-medium heat, add two drops of olive oil (or any vegetable oil you prefer) and spread it evenly on the warm skillet. Place the flattened balls and cook them on this low-medium heat. Flip them after couple of minutes to cook on the other side. Falafels are ready to dig in!!
There are many ways to eat them…just plain falafels taste best, wrap them in lettuce wraps with a drizzle of tahini sauce…oh so yum!!, or eat it the traditional way with pita bread.
You can’t go wrong eating these yummy falafels with warm pita bread topped with all the garnishings…freshly cut juicy roma tomatoes, cool cucumbers, thinly sliced red onions and top this with home-made tahini sauce makes this dish out of this world… you got to try this!!
Eating this dish has so many advantages…not to mention the AMAZING taste and flavor, added side benefits are huge…this dish is cooling for your body in Summer, balances your Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas, includes medicinal spices like turmeric, coriander and cumin which are so beneficial for our bodies.
I encourage you to try these falafels vedic style, your taste buds will be happy and your body will thank you!!