Not buffalo as in the meat...but buffalo, as in the sauce....slurp. Buffalo Falafel Balls, my newest obsession. Served with a Creamy Yogurt Cilantro Sauce for dipping. Your Superbowl party just got better!
I usually refer to falafel balls as little fritters of goodness. I think it's an appropriate description for this little fried ball. Raise your hand if you've never had falafel. Really? You need to change that. Neeeeeedddd!
The falafel ball itself is traditionally made from ground chickpeas or fava beans. It's deep fried and normally served inside pita bread with different kinds of sauces and other creative additions.
Truth be told, I never had falafel until I was about 30...shame on me. It just wasn't on my radar. But now...now...now, I get all the craze over the falafel stands and which one is making the best and most creative-yummy falafel.
While falafel is usually a meal in itself, I wanted to take it to the appetizer level and make it "football friendly"... for Superbowl and all other game day parties....'tis the season. So why not smother it with buffalo wing sauce...are you with me?
There seems to be a lot of secrets to making the perfect falafel balls and everyone has a different method. For me, I like falafel balls that aren't too dense and are light and airy. You don't want them to taste like they've soaked up all the oil from the frying process.
Lots of times too much flour in the batter can create a really, dense and heavy ball. To rectify that, I used part flour and part masa harina with a baking powder addition. It works perfectly and adds a little flavor too.
With the masa harina, you get this really nice puffy crust that is tasty when smothered with buffalo wing sauce. These are addictive...watch out.
I used a #50 or 1-1/4" scoop to make my chickpea mixture into little mounds. Before dropping them into the oil, I used my hand to roll them into a ball shape without a flat bottom edge.
They came out perfectly! It is really imperative to fry them in the right temperature oil, otherwise the insides will be mushy and uncooked.
If you don't already own one, please invest in a deep fry/candy thermometer for all your frying projects. So often oil temperature is underestimated, resulting in food that is soggy and uncooked. There's no reason for it. Having one of those thermometers at your fingertips will make things so easy.
Great balls of falafel-fire goodness. These were devoured in minutes.
Buffalo Falafel Balls
For the Falafel:
- 2 cans (15.5 ounce) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, packed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- 1/3 cup masa harina
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- peanut oil or other high temperature oil
For the Creamy Yogurt Cilantro Sauce:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 ounces Greek nonfat plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
For the Buffalo Sauce:
- 1/2 cup Frank's RedHot Buffalo Sauce
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Special equipment needed:
- food processor
- deep fry/candy thermometer
- Place all ingredients for the falafel into a the bowl of a food processor and make into a paste. You will have to scrape down the bowl a few times. (If you taste the mixture at this point, it will have the extreme taste of onion. This mellows out after the falafel balls are cooked and just provides flavor.) Place chickpea mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic. Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to make it easier to form the balls.
- Meanwhile, to make the yogurt sauce, place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a creamy dipping sauce forms; about 30-45 seconds. Place in a serving bowl and keep refrigerated until serving time.
- When falafel is ready to fry, preheat peanut oil (oil should be 2-inches deep) using a candy thermometer to 375 degrees F (oil temperature is very important or falafel balls will fall apart). With a #50 or 1-1/4-inch scoop make falafel balls and place them on a baking sheet. Before dropping them in the oil, roll them into balls with your hands so no edge is flat. Fry 4-5 falafel balls at a time, until browned. Place in a paper-towel lined bowl until all falafel have been cooked.
- Meanwhile, while falafel are frying, make buffalo sauce by adding Frank's, butter and garlic powder to a small saucepan. Heat until butter is melted and all ingredients are combined. Keep warm.
- When all falafel have been fried, place them in a large bowl and pour buffalo sauce over the top. Gently mix balls and sauce until all falafel have been coated. Serve with Creamy Yogurt Cilantro Sauce for dipping.