Oven-baked falafel balls with saffron tzatziki

Serves: 6
Course: Starter
Cooking Time: 0 hr 30 mins
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 400g tin cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 75g breadcrumbs
  • 3-4tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 15g mint, chopped
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2tbs sunflower oil
  • 30g sesame seeds
  • 10 saffron strands
  • 250ml yoghurt
  • Half a garlic clove, minced
  • 2 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1tsp honey (optional)
  • Pinch salt
  • Quarter of a cucumber, deseeded and chopped

First make the saffron tzatziki. For a very yellow colour, crush the saffron and mix it with a teaspoon of water. Mix together the yoghurt, saffron water, garlic, tabasco, honey and salt. Lastly, add the cucumber and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

For the falafel, preheat an oven to 190 degrees Celsius/gas 5. Gently fry the onion in oil for three to four minutes until softened, then stir in the garlic, chilli, ground cumin and ground coriander and fry for two minutes more. Transfer the onion mixture to a food processor with the chickpeas, breadcrumbs, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, herbs and salt.

Blitz in a food processor until the mixture comes together. Season to your taste. Shape the mixture into 14-16 balls. Toss them lightly in oil and roll them in sesame seeds until coated, then place on a greased baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Serve warm, with the saffron tzatziki, or in pitta pockets with lots more herbs and lettuce.