(POSTED: December 10, 2006)
Falafel is one of the most widely consumed and recognized foods of the Middle East. Fried balls or patties of chickpeas with spices make falafel both tasty and easy to prepare. Falafel is very popular as a fast food. Vendors sell it on the street corners in Cairo. As a main dish, it is served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it is served on a salad, or with hummus and tahini. Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians. Falafel is also the national dish of Israel.
1 cup dried chickpeas or 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Oil for frying
Place dried chickpeas in a bowl, covering with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. Omit this step if using canned beans. Drain chickpeas, and place in pan with fresh water, and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer on low for about an hour. Drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add baking powder. Mash chickpeas, ensuring to mix ingredients together. You can also combine ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste.
Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten. Fry in 2 inches of oil until golden brown (5-7 minutes). Serve hot.
Source: Saad Fayed,
Your Guide to Middle Eastern Food.
Photo: Odelia Cohen