Crunchy Red Swiss Chard Falafel

After sharing the review of Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume I decided to share one of my favourite recipes from her book as a tempter …. do try these delicious little morsels but I warn you to make sure you do quite a few as your guests will love them!!!

Crunchy Red Swiss Chard Falafel with Tahini, Lemon and Sumac Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 bunch red Swiss chard, well washed and roughly chopped
  • Scant 1 cup milk
  • Scant 1 cup chickpea flour
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cooked (canned) chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Ground turmeric for garnish


  • Tahini, Lemon and Sumac Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 2 small lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed sumac
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, cumin and allspice over medium heat for 3–4 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Drop in the chard and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and, once they’re cool enough to handle, squeeze dry.

In a medium nonstick saucepan, bring the milk to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Little by little, whisk in the chickpea flour until you have a smooth paste. Keep the mixture moving to avoid lumps. Then season, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Like cream puff dough, the mixture will come away from the sides of the pan and become a ball as it is heated.

Cool the ball of paste, then mix in the sautéed onions, chickpeas, lemon juice and blanched chard. Using your hands, mould the mixture into golf-ball-sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. In a large saucepan, heat around 5cms of oil to 350°F. Carefully place the falafel into the oil and cook for 3–4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with the turmeric. Serve with the tahini sauce.


Tahini, Lemon and Sumac Sauce:

Mix the tahini, cumin and the lemon juice in a bowl.  Slowly stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water, a little at a time, until you have a consistency that resembles thick cream.  Then add the garlic and season.

Combine the sumac with the olive oil and drizzle over the sauce.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve, with meat, poultry, vegetables or falafel.


(Photograph from Jonathan Lovekin)


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