Aarti Paarti Ep. 29: Pea-lafel!

Funny story about falafels: even though I grew up in Dubai, I never had a falafel until I moved to the States!  Isn’t that funny?

I’m not sure why that is… perhaps my parents didn’t think it was worth wasting perfectly good kebab-eating time.  Not that I’m complaining because, although I like falafels in theory, the reality is always a little disappointing.  Order some version of a vegetarian plate at a Middle Eastern joint, and while the babaganoush and tabouli are good, the falafel falls flat: it’s dry, flavourless, stale… unless you douse it in tahini, and then really, what’s the point? I’ve had good falafel, but they’ve been few and far between.

That’s the beauty of my pea-lafels.  Bite into these cheery bright green gems, and the satisfying crunchy exterior gives way to a luscious creamy interior.  You’re never going to have a chalky falafel if you make ‘em with peas!  Plus, I love the flavours in this falafel mix: mint, fenugreek, fennel and coriander.

I didn’t know this until now, but peas are packed with vitamin K, folic acid, all kinds of B vitamins and vitamin C.  And they’re hella cheap. No wonder your mum shoved them down your throat when you were little.

Oh and when you make ‘em, a bellydance spontaneously appears in your kitchen.  Think I’m kidding?  Take a look:


1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed and drained
1 shallot, peeled and chop roughly
1 clove garlic, peeled
Handful of fresh mint leaves, plus another handful for yogurt sauce
Glug of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Squirt of horseradish sauce (optional)
1/4 cup besan (chickpea flour; regular flour is a fine substitute)
Canola oil for frying
1 cup plain yogurt

1) In small skillet, toast the fenugreek, fennel and coriander seeds for a couple of minutes until they’re fragrant and slightly darker. Don’t walk away from the pan! They’ll burn! Remove from pan into a small bowl and allow to cool. Meanwhile, make yogurt sauce: Mix yogurt with finely chopped mint leaves and a generous pinch of salt. Chill in the fridge. Throw seeds into a coffee/spice grinder and powder.

2) Throw peas, spices, shallot, garlic, mint, extra virgin olive oil, salt into a food processor. Whizz it up, and if it isn’t grinding well, then pour up to 1/4 cup of water and puree until smooth. It won’t get completely smooth, because of the edamame, but process until as smooth as possible.

3) Scrape into a big bowl. Add horseradish sauce (optional) and flour. Mix.

4) Pour enough oil into a nonstick skillet so that it’s 1/8″ thick. Heat over medium heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, shape mixture into a small pattie in your hands, then gently drop into oil. Fry until the bottom is dark caramel brown (about 2 minutes), then carefully flip over. Brown other side, then remove from the pan and drain on paper towel-lined plate.

5) Serve in a pita breapocket with some fresh veggies and a spoonful of the yogurt sauce. Yum!



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32 thoughts on “Aarti Paarti Ep. 29: Pea-lafel!

  1. I’m always looking for snax to serve me veggie friends— and here is one that looks good enough for everyone to enjoy. Excited to try it!

    LOVE the site!

  2. Dearest Aaru, every time you cook I learn something new. Interesting idea and I am sure the pealafels taste fantastic too. I enjoyed the belly dancing and it brought back memories of Dubai and Desert Safari nights.

  3. Thankyou! Mum, I can’t believe YOU learn something from ME. That’s the biggest compliment ever. :) thankyou.

    Yeah, it reminded me of those nights too, although I think my teacher is way better. heehee!

  4. Hey Aarti! Well from a veggie’s point of view these look amazing! I love edamame and i love falafel, so perfect for me, will need to give them a try. I can’t believe you never had falafel in Dubai! Nina and i used to eat it at least once a week :) Loving your website, and your sister’s handiwork x

  5. i know isn’t that funny? i never had them! i hope you try ‘em… they’re so moist and sweet. i like them way better than the regular kind — i wonder though, perhaps the original kind is more filling because they’re so carby? hmmmm…

    thanks for checking it out kirsty!

  6. I am checking out your site since I watched The Next Food Star last night. I loved you on the show and I love your cooking style. I am printing off every recipe posted here that I’ve seen so far.

    You love the mint don’t you? I was just looking for good recipes with mint because I bought some at the local Asian supermarket and I just love all of the new ideas I have found. I am making fish tacos w/mint mayo asap!!!


  7. Aarti,

    I love your site, stories, videos and of course the recipes. I am so inspired to try your food.

    In regards to falafels, I totally understand what you mean. My mom does make great falafels, but still not that into them. I need to try your version.

    I wish you lots of luck!!! I wish I can hang out with you every day! You’re a joy to listen.

  8. I saw you on The Next Food Network Star and thought you were brilliant–your attitude, food, personality! Love your website and videos. I love cooking and while I’m vegetarian, I’m looking forward to trying out all your recipes (the non-veggie ones for my fiance, the others for me!). Good luck on the show–I’m rooting for you!

  9. These look fantastic and so healthy too.Aart you are my favorite contender for The next Food Network Star! You radiate happiness and I think that you’re just the breath of fresh air the Food Network needs ans indian food exposure is what we need too! :)

  10. Aarti,

    I just happened to find this site after doing a search for “Aarti Party.” I’m looking over the recipes and they look delicious. Your videos are so informative. I love watching you on The Next Food Network Star. I tried your Lentil Soup and loved it. Will definitely be trying more of your recipes. The pumpkin oatmeal and bread pudding are calling me to make them. The pea-lafels look interesting too.
    I wish you all the best and would love to see you with your own show on Food Network. You seriously have star potential. All the best to you!!

  11. I’ve been watching you on the NFNS, and you are doing a great job. AND you’re a bellydancer, too? Yay! Rak on! We dancers must stick together! SO glad to see you in the finals. Get your confidence up, girl, you are awesome!
    Can you bale these? I know you can bake regular falafel, and I try not to eat fried foods. I have to say, though, these might make me change my mind.

  12. Hi Aarti, congratulation for winning the NFNS, I can’t wait to try your recepies. I was watching this video and listening to the music, would you please tell me what is the name of that song and who plays that music. Thanks….I love falafels

  13. Hello Aarti,

    My congratulatory message on Monday did not get posted for some reason…hope this works.

    A comment on Besan – i don’t think it’s chickpea flour – it’s channa dal flour; and growing up in India they were quite different. Channa dal being usually roasted desi style and chickpeas usually cooked chole style [aka Kabuli channa]. They are somewhat similar ground but I think they bring differing qualities to the plate.

    Nevertheless, me hopes that the Besan I buy is not chickpea flour. LOL!

  14. Congrats Aarti on winning NFNS!!! I just made your pea-lafels tonight and loved, loved, loved them. I didn’t have fenugreek, so I went online for suggestions of alternatives and found one site that proposed yellow mustard seeds. I don’t know if you’d agree…..but even so, they were delicious. Can’t wait to see your show.

  15. Hello Aarti :)
    Simply wanted to share that I tried this recipe tonight. Unfortunately, I did not have all the spices you used, but I substituted with other items that I had in my kitchen. It turned so well! So crispy and so soft inside! So easy and so yummy!!! I know that my husband would love this too, and I cannot wait for him to come home tonight :) He will be so proud. Thanks Aarti for a wonderful recipe! And congrats on winning the Next FoodNetwork Star! So awesome!

  16. Aarti –
    Congratulations! I was cheering you on from the beginning!

    I have been on the quest for the best falafel recipe lately and have been disappointed by numerous tries. Tonight I tried your Pea-lafel recipe and found my winner – so delicious! It was so much lighter than the denser chick pea falafels I’ve been trying. Big YUM! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes! Love the “aart” design of your blog – so festive!

  17. I love falafel. If this is even better than the run of the mill falafel then I just have to try this out.

    I absolutey LOVE the video. I’m a diehard reader. I love to read blogs, articles, books…and I don’t usually watch many of the videos because most of the time they end up boring me. NOT the case with yours. It was entertaining watching you put these pea-lafels together and it totally looked like something that I could do myself! The bellydancer was a nice touch! That definitely made me smile.

    The wa you described the pea-lafel made me relate to how it would taste and I cannot wait to try these.

    I’m glad I found this!

  18. Hi Aarti,

    Love your recipes and your blogs! Such a lovely change to the monotonous food blogs I’ve seen. The music/belly-dance in some of your videos are so very captivating! You are an extremely creative person and I love the way the videos have been taken.

    I’m so thrilled that you are a Food Network Star- can’t miss any of your Season 2 shows. My Sunday noons will be booked JUST FOR YOU :)

    Keep up the good work and waiting to see more of your tantalizing recipes!



  19. Hi Aarti,
    I made your pealafel today. What can I say … it was an intant HIT.. Yaaaayyyy
    My 3 i old whom is a very picky eater….. LOVED IT..
    Thanks so much!

  20. Can you tell me how many this makes? I’m on weight watchers, and trying to figure out the points per serving. Thx!!

  21. Aarti, the Pealafal recipe sounds so wonderful. Why isn’t it on the Food Network website? I am so thankful to have found you here. I will be back.

  22. Yippee!! I saw your show today and just had to make these this week but unfortunately the recipe was not posted on Food Network so I was so happy to find it here. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

  23. Aarti, We wanted you to win from the beginning. We are vegans and LOVE!!
    your dishes, you always surprise us with great vege combinations. The all Vege show was awesome! I had to try the Pealafels, and only found them here? They were great!! Your kale salad with mango is a fixture on our table, I never liked it until we tried your recipe, we eat it at least twice a week. I love Indian food, keep up the good work you’re great.

  24. Went to Penzeys in search of Fenugreek seeds, but they only had ground. Where can I find the seeds in Torrance? I really want to make this recipe soon :) Love your show!

  25. Oh my gosh! The pea-lafel is divine! I am a vegetarian and I love falafel anyway, but this pea-lafel is scrumptious! i was confused by which size to make the patties so I experimented and it seems half-dollar size worked the best for me. I also did not have any mint so I put garam masala in my yogurt and loved it! Thank you so much Aarti you are an artist at your craft. Thanks for throwing in a a vegetarian entree recipe now and then.

  26. Aarti! I had to tell you I tried this today with my fam, and it was a huge hit! I love your blog/site and your vids have me cracking up. Love how much fun you seem to have in your kitchen.
    I happened to stumble on to your site quite by accident, and do not reside in the country?ies? that broadcast what I later found out was your rise to win on that program. Congratulations on that, albeit late.
    While making the pea-lafels today, I was left silently abusing the gook (pea-besan mixture) for not getting off my hands, or then plopping in with a thud that had the oil splash back on my hands!! (yeah that was definitely a “funkety funk” (as I like to call it) moment, or oh ***k! – which was actually the four letter word ‘gooK’, just so you know! Yeah, really.
    Anyway, so that’s when I chanced upon the idea of getting a tablespoon-full of the stuff and using another appropriate device – such as another tablespoon or teaspoon – to drop it into the burning oil. It made good enough round-ish shapes – for US, and it worked much faster than the swearing, blah blah blah…
    Another thing I did was to edit the yoghurt sauce a wee bit by adding what is known as ‘chaat masala’ (available in a salt shaker at most Indian stores, I should presume) and also a weeeee bit of paprika to give it the kick that the pea mixture didn’t have… you with me?
    Anyway, sorry for the long-winded post, just thought I would let you know :-)

  27. Hey Aarti,

    I tried this recipe yesterday and it turned out to be amazing…super crunchy pea-lafels and that yoghurt sauce was just yum…thanks for the wonderful recipe !!

  28. Okay, I must confess I do not like falafel. As you’ve stated, they are dry, tasteless, crumbly, just blah! So when I saw this, I was curious on your spin. I saw your video several times, until I finally got the nerve to try this recipe. All I can say is that I could kick myself for not making your pea-lafel sooner. So darned good! It exceeded my expectations. Just like all the previous comments, I too loved how creamy and smooth they were in the inside while being held together by that crunchy exterior! Tha flavors are well balanced, and the mint is prominent, but in a good way. This is going to on my list of dishes I make on a regulr basis. Thanks, Aarti!

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