Tips On How To Make Fluffy Falafel and Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup

today on America's Test Kitchen Elle and

Julia revealed the secrets to perfect

falafel Jack challenges Bridget to a

tasting of canned chickpeas and Becky

makes Bridget a show-stopping Moroccan

lentil and chickpea soup it's all coming

up right here on America's Test Kitchen

my very first cooking job which was

about 25 years ago was making a falafel

at a tiny vegan restaurant in Albany New

York called dahlias now back then

falafel wasn't as popular as it is today

which is good and bad

good because falafel is delicious it's

healthy and you can find it almost

everywhere but bad because there's a lot

of terrible versions out there that no

amount of sauce can fix but today ELLs

gonna show us how to make falafel at

home the right way that's right we tried

a ton of recipes in the Test Kitchen and

the worst of them were dents like hockey

puns they were dry and beany and

flavorless but the best of them had nice

brown crisp exteriors light fluffy

interiors full of warm spices and herbs

mm-hmm delicious when they're good

absolutely so let's get started first

things first chickpeas this is our

primary ingredient in falafel and you

want to stay away from the falafel kits

that have ground dried chickpeas they're

terrible we're soaking these because if

you use cooked

you'd get hummus mm-hmm if it were dried

you get flour exactly neither of which

you want something in the middle

something in the middle this is eight

ounces of chickpeas I'm covering these

in two to three inches of cold water and

we're gonna soak them 8 to 24 hours so

while these are soaking we're gonna

start with our favorite condiment yes

tahini sauce mm-hmm tahini is made with

toasted ground sesame seeds until

there's ground into a paste has a nice

texture is beautiful tahini yeah it is

and we're starting with just 1/3 cup now

to make a light refreshing sauce for our

falafel we're just gonna add a few

delicious ingredients like 1/3 cup of

Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of lemon juice

just that simple so I'm gonna mix these

together I can't have a falafel without

a nice sauce I actually usually double

the sauce and I put it on every

couple I mean it's just delicious all

right so it's a little thick you can add

up to a quarter cup of water to thin it

out and obviously the amount of water

you add will vary depending on the

thickness of your tahini and the

thickness of your regular oh that looks

good and smooth yeah

and we didn't change the texture too

much but we definitely added some cream

oh this is making me excited about meat

sooner than later all right so I'm gonna

add a couple of pinches of salt for

flavor season to taste oh that's perfect

mmm that's so good

now I'm more excited than ever for

falafel so I'm just gonna cover this you

can store it in an airtight container in

your fridge for up to four days all

right so these chickpeas have soaked

mm-hmm they're bigger than they were

absolutely and the texture has changed

you can kind of dig your nail and you

can pop it open like that so it's just

softened just soften it's gonna do a lot

for the texture of our falafel

so there's moving over and let's get

started making the falafel with half an

onion this is about half a cup I've had

lots of falafel with great texture but

no flavor mm-hmm today we're going to

achieve both we're gonna pack these

falafel with tons of herbs and warm

spices 3/4 cups of cilantro 3/4 cups

parsley lots of fresh herbs lots of

fresh herbs is super important I love it

when the fluff will have kind of a green

look to it so you know it's gonna have

some flavor that's right two cloves of

garlic minced 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of

coriander one teaspoon of cumin 1

teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of

cayenne pepper so just a little kick

just a little kick all right so we're

just going to create a pace out of this

I'm gonna blitz it for five seconds

all right that looks great definitely

more like a pesto nice yes and now we

can add chickpeas oh here you go thank

you alright so we're gonna just post

these that's it we'll see hmm not quite

okay there's some big pieces still yeah

there's still big pieces in there we

want the chickpeas to look like steel

cut oats oh that's pretty bad yeah yeah

it's pretty big not this big but I've

listed six more times let's see what we

do oh that looks great take a look at

that you don't have to grind it that

fine we already are going to add a

binder to this so we don't need to make

a pace ah so you can leave me kind of

chunky that's right it will contribute

to the airy fluffy texture of the

falafel how interesting yeah so we're

gonna make a flour based binder so we

have 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and

the third cup of water I'm just gonna

give that a good mix and we're gonna

actually cook this binder in the

microwave so you make a flour paste

basically most falafels are made with a

dry flour as a binder that usually

yields a dry dusty falafel we don't want

that we're gonna use this cooked paste

to bind our falafel without drying it

out mm-hmm and it'll Brown nicely which

is key all right that's well mixed it

needs to go in the microwave for 40

seconds so we're just gonna stir it

every 10 seconds to check the texture

right make sure it doesn't get lumpy

that's right all right so this looks

great it cooked for 40 seconds stirring

every 10 seconds and we know it's ready

because it'll stand - a mound when

dropped from spatula this is actually

gonna add some moisture to our falafel

which never hurts we're gonna add 2

teaspoons of baking powder this is gonna

act as our leavener and give us light

fluffy falafel we're gonna add this to

our falafel mix so just mixing it well

well really mix this right in it pretty

easily it really does want to make sure

it's all up and through here it almost

disappears it's like you don't even know

that it's there all right that looks


would you mind helping me roll out some

falafel no I love to so we're gonna use

a number 30 scoop

love these make it so easy to get evenly

sized portions so they cook at the same

rate we're just gonna go scoop here nice

level scoop and then just give it a

little shape and we're gonna get about

24 falafel

all right know what's cheaper we're

going for today golf ball shaped it go

we're doing round one yes I've seen them

shapes like pugs yep but I like the

round because you have more of that

fluffy interior the pucks they get a

little dry so what's great about this

falafel recipe is that you can actually

form them and freeze them

oh so you can come off to order oh yeah

look at these falafel you get a good job

you're at all your skills paid off it

kind of came back after a while get your

groove back I get it well these are good

I think it's time to start frying it hmm

we have two quarts of vegetable oil here

and we've heated to 325 degrees it's

very important to keep this oil at 325

degrees so when we cook the first batch

the temp might drop right because if the

oil is too high you'll get too much of a

crust you'll have sort of an empty

inside but if it's too low it won't

proper Brown that's right so we're gonna

fry this in batches we're gonna start

with 1/2 I like to lure them in with the

spiders I don't think all right keep

your fingers away from the oil yeah and

they're just gonna go for about 5

minutes we're looking for a deep

golden-brown I like to give them a

little stars in there and I'll stick

together and they'll start floating to

the top the closer they get to being

done okay so the second batch is done oh

those are lookers

oh man let's make some sandwiches yes

mmm I love all the condiments you have

out here

thank you I mean kind of been Queen are

you yes so okay now do you put a little

tahini down in the pita I like to get a

little moisture down deep in the pita a

little bit of lettuce cucumbers yep and

the tomatoes and the cucumbers start to

release their moisture with that sauce

heaven now how many of these in a

sandwich I think there is a safe number

yeah three looks gigs it fills it up

nicely last but not least no more sauce

top it off oh that is a beautiful

looking sandwich mmm that's falafel done

right I love the heat

from the falafel and the coolness of the

cucumbers and the tomatoes and that

lettuce it's really that balance that's

just awesome take that value add so if

you want to make the ultimate falafel at

home start by soaking dried chickpeas

and water overnight using the food

processor make a spiced onion cilantro

parsley pesto then add the chickpeas and

pulse until coarsely chopped make a

cooked flour and water paste in the

microwave and add it to the falafel

along with a little baking powder before

shaping them into balls fry them in

batches and serve with a classic tahini

sauce and pita along with fresh

cucumbers and tomatoes from America's

Test Kitchen to your kitchen fabulous

new recipe for falafel Hillar al I might

have to move to the fork I'm just yeah

I'm just going to take this block


chickpeas were one of the original

cultivated crops in fact researchers

found in the Middle East a crop from

7500 years ago that's a long time but

Jack's here to talk about a much newer

hybrid the canned chickpea they're a

little fresher I just have to start with

a little odd - the chickpea it's having

a moment what else can't but you do it's

everything to everyone there's actually

a shortage some people are saying well

you know we're not only using the

chickpeas we're now using the liquid and

a lot of our soup recipes we are using

the liquid to make meringue for vegan

baking it's called aqua fava so anyway

this is going to be simple

I hope these are plain as you can see

this is basically from the can we also

made hummus you can dig in we also made

pasta with cheese and pancetta and all

these herbs and rosemary and garlic and

you didn't get any of that today no

great so this is mostly a good news

story I'm switching to my fingers I hope

you don't mind

you can taste however you want to taste

Bridget there's really only one mistake

that a manufacturer can make and that is

to leave out the salt I think I might

have found it and we found even if you

cook it in a recipe with a lot of salty

ingredients canned tomatoes chicken

broth and Chetta

the chickpea itself never face properly

since it it's the idea of you know if

you cook pasta in a pot with no salt

there's nothing you can do to make it

taste good no matter how salty the sauce

is same thing with the chickpea so we

had six brands two of them had little or

no sodium and those were at the bottom

of the rankings they weren't awful but

they were just bland among the four

brands that contain salt

so we're differences in texture

somewhere a little creamier somewhere a

little on the softer side some might

have been on a little bit on the firm

side that's basically about how they

were cooked so the dried beans are

soaked they're put in the cans and

they're pressure-cooked and based on the

temperature or the length they might get

a little bit softer or a little firmer

depending on how the manufacturer makes

them but they're pretty small

differences you've been sampling them

one at a time it's very elegant tasting

don't you think yes

what a great cocktail party Jack I will

party anything you're noticing among

these four samples yes they're all

chickpeas they're all chickpeas they're

all cold and they're all in a bowl this

one tastes like it has a zero seasoning

it's also for lack of a better word very

al dente really really almost gritty and

that's actually gonna translate in the

hummus test so we found the ones that

were on the firm side or the gritty side

made kind of gritty hummus and the ones

that were really soft made a thin hummus

like it didn't have enough body to stick

to a pita chip and so the creamy

chickpeas not only taste better right

from the can like you're having them

here but also they make a better hummus

so there's one that you clearly weren't

that wad about mm-hmm the other three on

this one it's not too bad it's not very

well seasoned in my opinion this one

unlike the seasoning I think this is my

favorite okay you want to see what you

picked I'm so nervous

you chose the winner oh good you agree

with the tasting panel goryeo we thought

it would the best texture right amount

of seasoning it not only did well in

this test it did well and hummus tests

in the pasta test

it's our favorite chicken it's a great

all-around chick pea all right I'm gonna

go with the other side so this is Eden

this is a brand that has no salt has a

little kombu some seaweed but it does

not do the same thing that salt does and

it's very bland as I say it continues to

be bland when you cook with it it

actually they feel undercooked as well

yeah all right

this one Progresso it was recommended

it's fine some of the tasters thought

was the low on the soft side it was sort

of the least favorite among the ones we

recommend it okay and this one was

probably they run around and the

runner-up the pass team and you know

again it's seasoned well too it's a nice

choice you know you start cooking with

the pus teen versus Liguria and the

differences are probably gonna get

fairly small mm-hmm

yeah I love the texture of these and the

seasoning just throw them in the fryer

and be done and you're one happy

chickpea I'm one happy chick very very

good well there you go next time you're

making a hummus or say you just want to

eat them right out of a glass bowl

the winner was Goya chick peas garbanzos

and they sell for 89 cents I can

it's a good day in the Test Kitchen

because we are making Herrera now it's a

Moroccan lentil soup and it's chock full

of hearty ingredients we've got beans

greens tomatoes and warm spices but best

of all Becky is here and she's going to

show us a really easy weeknight version

that we can make a home that's right and

it calls for mostly staples that you

probably already have on hand that's

great because I've seen some really

complicated versions out there so this

is easy it's easy simple so we can have

more often that's right so I have 1/3 of

a cup of extra virgin olive oil I'm

heating this up over medium-high heat

and we're going to be doing a meatless

version of harira okay sometimes it has

lamb or chicken or beef but we're gonna

do no meat and no meat that's still

gonna be nice and hearty thanks and

hearty and partly and thanks to this oil

1/3 of a cup this is really the only fat

in the recipe so it's gonna give it a

little bit of richness Oh perfect see

that's starting to shimmer already right

so I have one onion diced up we'll put

this in and two ribs of celery and we'll

let this go for about seven minutes

we're looking for the veggies to turn

translucent and just a little bit Brown

all right sounds good

spend seven minutes you can see the

veggies starting to get a little bit

soft and translucent so you're not

looking for a lot of brown color here no

just a tiny bit you can see just around

the edges okay but not a ton so let's

move on let's turn the heat first down

to medium alright and I'm adding a

tablespoon of fresh ginger and a lot of

recipes call for dried ginger but we

really like the thing that you get from

fresh they're completely different

animals that's so true but the powder

ginger really just tastes florals but

when you start adding fresh ginger you

get a little heat kick yeah well yeah so

good and now I have five cloves of

garlic minced up so just let that go for

a minute you just want to start to smell

it I can smell it already right I can

smell it that's starting to smell really

good sure I'm in it let's move on to our


okay now harira sometimes will have up

to a dozen spices yes I've made them

before yeah that's a lot it is so we

paired it down to five essentials okay

but really give you a nice balanced

flavor all right so let's start with two

teaspoons of paprika

that'll of course add that beautiful

smokiness two teaspoons of coriander and

the nice citrusy taste to it or does and

we're using a good amount of both of

these we found that when we didn't use

enough the scoop sort of tastes more

like minestrone and that's like chimera

so it was a smoked paprika and the

coriander that really turned it into the

hair railroad exactly those are sort of

the two signature spices that we're

using but there's more oh yes

so teaspoon of cumin okay also very warm

a little bit smoky 1/2 teaspoon of

cinnamon that's warm berry lots of

complexity here and then for just a

little bit of heat an eighth of a

teaspoon of pepper flakes okay so let's

let that go for another minute and we're

blooming with spices and the oil that's

gonna take away some of their grittiness

because we're using a pretty good amount

here it's true it's but the oil is also

going to help to release the oil soluble

compounds they really make a smaller

amount of spices taste even bigger and

more complex right and you want to make

sure you're using fresh legs here

because we're using so many spices will

generally keep in a cool dark place for

about a year if it doesn't smell really

potent that was probably time to replace

it time to let it go yep all right

that's looking great so let's add some

fresh herbs all right we're gonna be

adding herbs in two stages we're gonna

add some now and some at the end because

this recipe has a lot of herb presence

all right let's do a half a cup of mint

cilantro and a quarter cup of mint

parsley cilantro is just a continuation

of that coriander flavor right that's

right both in the same yeah

coriander is the seed and the cilantro

is the leaves all right so it's been

another minute and now let's get some

liquid in the soup so I'm gonna be using

four cups of chicken broth and four cups

of water we found that if we used all

chicken broth it just tasted to chickeny

right and we don't want that and if you

want to make this completely vegetarian

it's fine to use the full eight cups of

veggie broth and now we'll add the beans

that we were talking about I have one

can of chickpeas 15 ounce can that's

been drained and rinsed we consider

dried chickpeas for this recipe they

just take way too long to cook right

I've seen chickpeas dried chickpeas I've

also seen fava beans use both of them

can be a little bit of a pain yeah if

you start from scratch yeah so the

canned chickpeas perfect yeah and you're

really not sacrificing anything by using

the canned they're very good they're

great product so finally I'm adding one

cup of brown lentils these have been

rinsed I picked through them to remove

any debris that was in there and we'll

put those in you find anything good

nothing good nothing

making jewelry out of anything and you

know you can find canned lentils I don't

know if you've ever seen those never

seen canned lentils yeah they're

actually decent product and we consider

them here but the dried lentils only

take 20 minutes right it's gonna go with

those they're less expensive but you

wouldn't want to use something like red

lentils because they would probably fall

apart they would they would totally lose

their shape so I'm gonna turn up the

heat here to medium-high we're gonna

bring this up to a simmer once this

reaches a simmer I'm gonna partially

cover it turn it back down to medium low

and let it simmer for 20 minutes so it's

been 20 minutes and you can see this is

the partially covered pot we just have a

little bit of space for some steam to

escape hmm that's looking good and our

lentils are just tender here you can see

they held their shape that's just what

we want so let's move on let's add one

28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes and

we're choosing that because it's already

broken down right no work to do yep I

told you is gonna be easy

I love Beck he's keeping everything here

and let's add 1/2 a cup of orzo

okay the pasta harira typically contains

some kind of pasta or rice there's a lot

of different choices we just liked where

so let's put that in so I'm gonna

partially cover this again we'll let it

simmer for 7 minutes and then we'll come

back and finish up okay it's been seven

minutes take a peek here

smelling for good it does so let's add

some greens Herrera almost always

contains some type of green we chose

just one that we really like this is

four ounces of Swiss chard I took out

the stems and chop the leaves into

half-inch pieces all right not using the

tough stems no we can use those for

something else they're totally edible

but just not in the soup so four ounces

there's some pretty color there yeah

really nice stir that up and we'll let

this go for another five minutes okay

also partially covered alright so it's

been five minutes let's take a look as

good in here yeah I'm gonna take a quick

taste I wanna make sure that pasta is

done okay I'm also gonna check for

seasoning really good if I do say so and

you should turn off the heat here okay

and we're going to finish the soup with

two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

just brighten it up

yeah and lemon is a very predominant

flavor sometimes it even includes

preserved lemon but we really like the

bright taste of the fresh else gonna add

some more herbs add another 1/4 cup of

minced parsley and another quarter cup

of mint cilantro again just to add some

freshness at the end here the herbs that

you use when you put them near the

beginning of cooking they're gonna give

a very different flavor than herbs added

right at the end absolutely so allow me

here so colorful it's gorgeous isn't it

you can actually smell the cinnamon in

the cumin miss Smoak paprika as well

love smoked paprika it's like the bacon

of the spice world yes it really doesn't

have a really nice smokiness to it so I

have a couple of garnishes here some

fresh lemon of course I recommend giving

it a little squeeze there and then this

is harissa this is a North African chili

paste it's got a lot of spice to it

great depth of flavor and it really adds

a lot of complexity to the city it sure

it does you can find this in the

international aisle of most supermarkets

we also have a recipe for harissa on our

website oh very good sir you never

without it that's right you don't want

to be without it after tasting this soup

mmm-hmm right the lemon the herbs


yeah warm beans the the chickpeas and

the lentils they're both creamy and

tender you get that a little bits of

orzo in there too and you know they

don't take over but it's a nice little

counterpoint in texture but I love the

tomatoes and the lemon it's nice

brightness you have all those warm

spices in there too it's really rich and

the baddest thing but it's it's light at

the same time you know I mean you're not

gonna get stuffed at the end of the meal

but no I feel totally satisfied well you

can call it what you want but I would

call it outstanding Thank You Becky

welcome well if you'd like to make

harira a home it starts by sautéing

onions and celery and then load in the

spices you've got ginger coriander and

smoked paprika along with fresh cilantro

and parsley simmer with broth chickpeas

and lentils add tomatoes orzo and Swiss

chard and finish with lemon juice and

some more fresh herbs served with lemon

and harissa so from our Test Kitchen to

your kitchen a spiced smoky sultry Avira

or Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup and

you can get this recipe and all the

recipes from this season along with our

testings tastings and selected episodes

on our website

Thank You Becky


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