Add chickpeas, parsley, shallot, garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, pepper (and coriander and cardamom if using) to a food processor or blender and mix/pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed until thoroughly combined. You’re looking for a crumbly dough, not a paste (see photo).
Add flour 1 Tbsp (~8 g) at a time and pulse/mix to combine until no longer wet and you can mold the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands - I used 4 Tbsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more salt, pepper, and a dash of cardamom and coriander. You want the flavor to be pretty bold, so don’t be shy.
Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to firm up. If you’re in a hurry you can chill in the freezer for 45 minutes or skip this step - but they will be a little more fragile when cooking.
Once chilled, scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts (~30 g in weight // I used this scoop) and gently form into 11-12 small discs (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
OPTIONAL: Sprinkle on panko bread crumbs and gently press to adhere - flip and repeat. This will produce a crispier falafel, but it's optional.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the pan - about 2 Tbsp (30 ml). Swirl to coat.
NOTE: If not cooking all of the falafel right away, FREEZE uncooked falafel between layers of parchment paper and store in a container in the freezer up to 1 month. Then just thaw and cook as instructed!
Once the oil is hot, add only as many falafel as will fit very comfortably in the pan at a time - about 5-7.
Cook for a total of 4-5 minutes, flipping when the underside is deep golden brown. Repeat until all falafel are browned - the deeper golden brown they are, the crispier they'll be. They will also firm up more once slightly cooled.
OPTIONAL: For even crispier falafel, bake in a 400 degree F (204 C) oven for 5-10 minutes after pan frying (either on a baking sheet or your skillet if it's oven-safe)!
Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep in the refrigerator covered for 4-5 days. Freeze after that to keep fresh for up to 1 month. From thawed, reheat in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven for 15 minutes or until hot.
*Recipe loosely adapted from Tori Avey. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without sauce or optional ingredients.