1 cup dried chickpeas
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches Mix in 1 tsp baking soda and 1 T. salt. Let soak 10 to 12 hours then drain. Transfer chickpeas to a pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Remove the foam that forms and simmer 10 minutes. chickpeas should be crisp and firm. Drain chickpeas.
2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add onions. Sir and cook for 5 to 8 minutes.
Place the drained chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into 2 1/2-to-3-inch disks.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 disk to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 disks at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel disks, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.
NOTE: Egyptians omit the cilantro and substitute fava beans for the chickpeas.