Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish made with legumes (usually chickpeas or fava beans) that are combined with herbs and spices before being deep-fried till crisp golden brown on the exterior and delicate in the middle. Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish that is also spelled felafel. These little deep-fried patties are popular street food in countries like Syria, Egypt, and Israel, the latter of which has falafel as its national cuisine. It’s a vegetarian favourite and one of the most well-known and well-liked dishes from that part of the world.
The history of falafel is a tangled and contentious one. The dish’s roots remain unknown, even though it has become a fundamental part of Israeli society. According to a 2002 New York Times report, many Palestinians feel Israel stole falafel, a classic Arab dish. However, it is usually assumed that the dish was created around 1,000 years ago in Egypt. According to the belief, because Alexandria was a port city, falafel spread readily throughout the Middle East. Other ideas suggest it’s even older: some experts believe it originated in Ancient Egypt, while others claim it came from Yemen.
How to Make Falafel?
Falafel is created by blending chickpeas, herbs, spices, and aromatics in a food processor to generate a mixture molded into patties or balls and fried or baked. Falafel that is fried instead of baked has a crispier texture.
Use dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight (adding baking soda helps them soften while they soak) and then drained for the most incredible texture and structure. Though canned chickpeas can be used, they don’t maintain their shape when blended with other ingredients and made into patties. Several recipes ask for a binding agent like panko breadcrumbs or an egg when using canned chickpeas. If you’re making a large batch of falafel and want to freeze some, soak the dry chickpeas first to ensure they keep their shape when thawed.
- One ¼ cup dried chickpeas
- ½ cup chopped onions
- Two garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 tbsp parsley or cilantro, chopped
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp powdered cumin
- ½ tsp powdered coriander
- 1 ½ cup flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp water
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 3 cups cooking oil
- Soak the chickpeas overnight in lots of cold water. After a few hours, check to see if they’re still covered in water as they swell.
- Place the chickpeas in the food processor after draining them. Combine the onion, garlic, and herbs in a mixing bowl. Pulse until a mass forms that adhere to itself. Scrape the sides a couple of times with a scraper.
- Combine the spices, flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp of water to the mix. To mix, run the food processor once more. If it appears that another tablespoon of water is required to keep the clump together, add it now.
- Pour the chickpea mixture into a mixing bowl.
- In a heavy pan, heat the oil until it shimmers.
- Wet your hands and make a walnut-sized round ball inside its shell. It should be compacted between your palms. Make the first falafel ball and fry it. Taste it and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning in the raw bulk.
- Sesame seeds should be rolled into each ball. Cook the balls in batches so they don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook until the outsides are golden brown and crisp and the insides are thoroughly done. The first ball will inform you how long to keep them in the oil, but they will fry faster as you go.
- Drain on a crumpled piece of paper.
- Fill pita pieces of bread with the mixture. Serve immediately with your favourite vegetables and tahini.
What is Falafel?
Falafels are deep-fried balls or patties prepared from chickpeas or fava beans, or a combination of the two, with fresh herbs and spices. Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern street snack found in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel, where it is the national dish. Falafel is a famous vegetarian and vegan dish as well. It’s eaten in pita sandwiches with pickles, spicy sauce, tahini, and vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce; as part of a mezze spread of tabbouleh and grape leaves; or as a side dish with hummus.
What is in Falafel?
Chickpeas are the most common ingredient in falafel, but they can also be made with fava beans or a combination of them. Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and dill, spices like cumin, coriander, cayenne, crushed red pepper flakes, and aromatics like onions, garlic, and shallots are blended with chickpeas (and fava beans). Baking soda is also included in several recipes because it acts as a raising agent, preventing falafel from getting dense and ensuring a soft, almost fluffy interior.
Is Falafel Healthy?
Falafel is high in fiber and a good source of plant-based protein because chickpeas are the primary ingredient. Chickpeas are high in B vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. When falafel is fried, it has more calories and fat. Try baking falafel in the oven or air fryer for a lighter version.
Falafel is a popular vegan dish with a high protein and fiber content. It’s crucial to keep in mind that falafel is still deep-fried and high in calories, fat, and sodium. A single falafel pita might have up to 750 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 1,500 milligrams of salt. If you fry your falafel in a heart-healthy oil (like olive or grapeseed), it may easily fit into a healthy lifestyle—don’t overdo it.
Is Falafel Vegan?
Falafel is vegan because it is made with chickpeas, herbs, spices, and alliums. However, falafel is sometimes offered in wraps that aren’t vegan or with sauces made with yogurt or dairy, so look for vegan-friendly options. If you buy a packaged falafel mix, search for “vegan” labeling or check the ingredient list to ensure it’s devoid of dairy, meat, and eggs and that it was made in a dairy-, meat-, and egg-free facility.
Falafel is most commonly served as a falafel sandwich with pita bread. Two or three warm falafel patties, tomato, cucumber, onion, romaine lettuce or shredded cabbage, parsley, and sometimes sandwich pickles are put into the pita pocket and covered with tahini sauce. Falafel can also be served as an appetizer with a sauce like hummus. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or a combination of garbanzo beans and peeled fava beans are the significant components of falafel. Before deep-frying, the cooked beans are mashed into a coarse paste and combined with additional seasonings. Flour, breadcrumbs, or eggs are typically used as binders to maintain the patties in form.
Seasonings vary by household, but cumin, garlic, parsley, onion, or cilantro are frequent falafel additions. While your standard falafel is already flavorful, it’s sometimes fun to mix things up. Try a falafel burger with an enormous patty, a bun, and all of your favorite toppings. Alternatively, use the waffle iron to make savory falafel waffles with thinly sliced vegetables and tahini sauce. If you’re watching your weight, avoid the deep frying and opt for baked falafel instead, a low-fat alternative to the classic approach.