Falafel with Winter Tabbouleh and Sumac Yoghurt

, from Issue #85. July, 2019
Photography by Kate Battersby.
Falafel with Winter Tabbouleh and Sumac Yoghurt

I’ve had a few good falafel fails in my time, so I’m pleased to finally have nailed a seemingly foolproof recipe! Using soaked, dried chickpeas takes longer but is so worth it.

Serves: 4


1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 12 hours
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 brown onions, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 tablespoon water
neutral oil, eg rice bran, for frying
Winter tabbouleh
1 bulb fennel, shaved
½ cup julienned apple
2 cups cooked bulgur wheat
¼ cup currants
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon
zest and juice 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped mixed herbs eg mint, flat-leaf parsley, coriander
Sumac yoghurt
1 cup thick plain yoghurt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sumac, plus extra to serve
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
zest 1 lemon


Falafels: Toast the cumin and fennel seeds in a dry sauté pan until fragrant.

Place the chickpeas, garlic, onion, salt and parsley in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped but not mushy. Transfer mixture into a bowl, add the remaining falafel ingredients (including toasted spices) and stir until well combined, then cover and place in the fridge for 45 minutes.

Winter tabbouleh: While the falafel mixture chills, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season and set aside.

Sumac yoghurt: Mix all the ingredients together place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Remove the falafel mixture from fridge and use wet hands to roll into balls approximately the size of a golf ball (you may need to gently squeeze the falafel to encourage them to stay together).

Pour 5cm of oil into a medium-sized pot and place over a high heat. Fry the falafel in batches of 4-5 at a time, until brown and crispy on the outside and cooked through. Drain and serve immediately with the tabbouleh, a dollop of the yoghurt and a sprinkle of sumac.