Crispy and delectable, Falafel is a favourite snack for food lovers all over the world. This popular traditional, street food from Middle Eastern cuisine has become a part of the international scene now. Let’s look at some interesting facts about this legendary dish.
The origin of falafel has been under debate for a long time. The common belief is that falafel was invented in Alexandria, Egypt. Later, it spread across the Middle East where it became a popular street food.
Falafel is usually made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and is considered as a suitable replacement for meat. In some places, fava beans are used to make these deep fried, crunchy balls. The addition of garlic, cumin seeds, pepper, paprika, parsely and coriander gives an exquisite flavour to this dish. Though falafel is usually shaped like a ball, at times it is made as patties too.
Though each country has its own version of falafel recipe, the basic ingredients and preparation method remains the same. When it comes to making falafel, the sky is the limit. You can vary the ingredients as per your choice.
Falafel is made by grinding all the ingredients through a grinder, making balls out of the mixture, and deep frying them. Some people use food processor to grind the ingredients, which gives the falafel a smooth texture and makes it less crunchy.
Any mention of falafel will be incomplete without its soul mate hummus. Falafel is usually served with hummus, a dip made from chickpeas and tahini sauce. It is also served with pita bread in Israel and other countries. Falafel is quite versatile and you can add any topping of your choice to enhance its flavour.
Whether you are grabbing a pocket of pita bread with falafel on the go or you are enjoying a fine dinner with a side salad, falafel always satisfies your hunger.
Falafel is not just tasty but it’s healthy too. As it is made from chickpeas, it is rich in protein and is a healthier alternative for meat. It also contains carbohydrates and some percent of fat, potassium and magnesium. Even when deep fried, it contains less fat and calories when compared to other deep fried snacks and is an ideal option for weight watchers. Combine falafel with a bowl of salad and reap the nutritional benefits of both veggies and falafel.
Falafel around the World
Falafel is a popular street food in the Middle East and some African counties too. You can find lot of street food stalls in these countries where you can taste the authentic falafel. In Arab countries, it is served with hummus or as a standalone snack. In some countries, it is also served with tahini sauce and pita bread. In Egypt, you can find McFalafel in McDonalds which just proves how famous falafel is. In Turkey, falafel is served in Turkish toasted bread along with salads and spicy sauces.
Known as the “hot dog of the Middle East”, falafel has gained quite a fan following in Western countries too. This chickpea sensation as evolved into falafel burgers, sandwiches and even falafel sushi in the West. You can even see falafel as gourmet hors d’oeuvres in fine dining.
The current record for the largest falafel was set in Amman, Jordan. On 28 July 2012, chefs in Amman cooked a falafel weighing about 74.75 kg. Unbelievable, isn’t it! Well the bigger the size, the more for us to enjoy.
Largest Serving of Falafel
Did you know the largest serving of falafel was made in Beirut and weighed a record 5173 KG. It was made by Chef Ramzi Choueiri and the students of Al-Kafaat University on 9 May 2010.
We have a special day for pretty much everything. The International Falafel Day is celebrated on June 12, and has been celebrated since June 2012. Let’s join in the celebrations next year with a portion of this delicious delicacy.