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Ayesha Nurdjaja's Falafel Pita Sandwich

Ayesha Nurdjaja's Falafel Sandwich
Ayesha Nurdjaja


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
Falafel (makes 25-30 falafel)
  • 4 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in 8 quarts of water overnight
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups parsley, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 cups chickpea flour, divided
  • Canola oil, for frying
To serve
  • 4 pita pockets
  • Cilantro, parsley, red cabbage and pickled vegetables, to garnish

Chef notes

I am a textural eater. I never found a falafel I really loved because they were always tasty but mushy. This is a crunch-on-crunch-on-crunch falafel sandwich! It's like fireworks of flavor for your taste buds.

Swap options: Instead of frying, you can oven bake them at 350°F for 8-10 minutes. You can substitute chickpeas for fava beans or do a combination of both. If cilantro is not your thing, use mint or dill.


For the tahini:

In a food processor or blender, add garlic and salt. Pulse until a paste is made. Add in the tahini paste, lemon juice and water, and pulse until tahini sauce is creamy.

For the zhoug:


In a blender or food processor, add garlic cloves and salt. Pulse until a paste is made.


Add all remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.


Put in an airtight container and drizzle olive oil on top to cover; this will last 2 weeks refrigerated.

For the falafel:


Combine all ingredients with the exception of flour and baking powder in a bowl and toss.


Spoon chickpea and spice mixture into a food processor and blend until well mixed, 2 minutes.


Scrape the bowl and blend again for 30 seconds. You want the chickpeas to be chunky and not pureed.


Place mixture in a large mixing bowl and add the baking powder and 1 cup of flour.


Use your hands mix the ingredients. You are looking for the mixture to be able to stick together to form a ball but do not over-mix.


If you need more flour, gradually add the additional cup for desired consistency. Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, make a ball of falafel and flatten slightly.


In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat canola oil to 350°F and fry for 6-8 minutes.


Remove falafel from the oil and set on a tray or strainer lined with paper towel and season with salt.

To serve:

Warm the pita and cut 1/4 of the top off to make room to build your falafel sandwich.

Drizzle tahini inside pita, add fresh herbs and cabbage, 4 pieces of falafel, pickles and a good drizzle zhoug on top of everything.