The night before making the falafels (18 hours before cooking the recipe)
Soak the dried chickpeas in enough water so they are covered by 2-3 inches with room to expand in the soaking container. Mix in the baking soda to the soaking water and then pour in the chickpeas.
The next day, drain the chickpeas from the water using a colander. Rinse the chickpeas and then pat dry on a clean large kitchen towel.
In a food processor combine the drained chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Process the ingredients until combined. There should still be a bit of chunk left to the ingredients.
To the food processor add the rice flour and baking powder. Continue the mixing in the processor until it is soft and stays together when pressed.
Using a 2.5 Tablespoon scoop (approx 2 oz), spoon out a bit of the mix into wet hands and roll the mix between your palms to form a ball. Gently flatten the ball in the centre to form small patties ½ an inch thick.
Place the formed falafels on a plate and make them all before frying them. They can be chilled here if making them ahead of time for up to 24 hours.
In a pan with deep sides, heat ¼-½ an inch of neutral oil to approximately 355F over medium/high heat on the stove. It will be ready to fry when a test bit of falafel mix bubbles in the oil.
Carefully place the falafels in the pan a few at a time. Crowding the pan will cool off the oil and they will not cook properly. Each side should take 5 mins, or until golden. Turn with care and fry each patty on the other side 4-5 minutes, or until golden.
Remove the falafels from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
The chickpeas will expand considerably in size so bear this in mind when choosing a dish to soak them in. They will double their size at the least.The soaking water for the chickpeas is not aquafaba, when using dried chickpeas it is water they are boiled in and then reduced by further boiling the boiling water. This recipe doesn’t boil the chickpeas so no aquafaba is made here.It may take running the mix in batches through the food processor. Ours is on the smaller size so we usually have to split the ingredients to maintain the proper flavouring and run a batch or run through ingredients and mix them again in a large bowl.The rolled falafel balls before pressing flat should be the size of a golf ball.The falafels can be kept rolled or cooked flat. The balls will take longer to cook, whereas a patty will cook quicker due to a spread out surface area in the oil.Wet hands are easier to roll the mix than dry hands, the water helps to stop the falafel mix from sticking to your hands.Chilling the falafels and letting them sit formed in patties will help to keep them together.To cook in the oven - line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray or brush the patties with a neutral oil like canola or olive oil. Place the patties on the paper and bake at 350F for 10 mins. Flip the patties and respray with oil, if needed. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.How to Cook Falafels in the Air Fryer - Spray the Falafels with high heat safe oil and place in the basket of a preheated air fryer. Cook at 400F for 6 minutes and flip the patties. Spray the patties with a bit more oil and air fry for another 6 minutes. Remove with a very thin silicone lifter and place on paper towel to drain any excess oil from them.