Everyone's favourite! The Falafel.

Contrary to common belief, Falafel -just like Hummus–  in fact belong to and originate from Middle Eastern / Arabic cuisine! Within the Middle East, of course everyone tries to own both the Falafel and Hummus recipes, simply because over the years there is not any spot in the Middle East that does not make and serve these especially hummus. Of course each region, country and at times neighbourhood has a recipe and a story for these two main mezzes or starter/breakfast options. I do tackle this and the origin of more recipes in my book “Plated Heirlooms” from which comes this recipe. So for now I will leave the discussion of origins and leave it up to you to purchase your copy and read my argument there.

Here I will focus on the technicality of making Falafel. It is mainly made out of minced chickpeas, brown broad beans, herbs and a special falafel spice mix.
In the Middle East, Falafel is usually served alongside Hummus, Fool (brown broad beans mash), Fatet Hummus (A preparation of Hummus with a bed of bread underneath) all of which are recipes in my book and more of the same category of foods can be found there too. Falafel is also very often served with Taratoor (a tahini sauce served with falafel, recipe below). It is mainly the Lebanese version that serves Falafel with Taratoor, the Palestinian version on the other hand is either served with hummus or tahini salad (recipes in Plated Heirlooms). Especially when a sandwich is made the tahini salad/taratoor are usually used along side of course the Shatta and the pickles.

Falafel is essentially a breakfast item, often also had for dinner, however, today with the whole world going Falafel about Falafel it became an option that can be had any time of the day.

Growing up in Amman, it is tradition for most families to go buy Falafel, Hummus, Fattet Hummus and fool early on Friday mornings and gather up the family for an early breakfast. When we used to go on sleepovers at my grandparents’, my grandpa used to always make sure to go really early to buy these, and would prepare breakfast for us before we woke up! I used to love sleeping over there, and occasionally I would get to go with him, if I woke up early 🙂 Today, the same tradition lives on in Amman, and you would actually have to stand in a long queue before it’s your turn to pick your order! So if you love Falafel like I do, here is how you can make them….


  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours
  • 1 cup dried brown broad beans, soaked for 24 hours
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium green capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dried coriander powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of Soda
For Taratoor Dip
  • 1/2 cup raw Tahina (sesame paste)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely minced
  • fresh mint Chiffonade for garnish
  • salt

Place all in a food processor and process until fine and smooth. After processing, add cumin and coriander powder then mix in the baking powder and the baking soda Make sure all is well combined. Add 2 tbsp water (just enough to help the mixture bind together. Do not go overboard with the water)

At this point, you can either shape the falafel rounds by hand to the desired size, or you can use the special Falafel tool that has a cavity, which you fill with falafel mix and scrape off the excess (see the golden tool in the picture). The shape of falafel is usually round, but you can make it slightly flattened too or into the shape of small sausages for variation. I personally prefer the classic round shape.

Once shaped deep fry in very hot oil till browned on all sides. Drain a little on a sieve, transfer to serving plate and serve hot. you can sprinkle falafel with toasted sesame seeds or Sumac for garnish and added flavour. I find that falafel go especially well with fresh tomato and hummus…It also pairs very well with both my Red Shatta and Green Shatta.


To make the Taratoor sauce,

simply mix all the ingredients together except for the water and the mint Chifonade. Then use the water to thin the tahini paste to the desired consistency. fold in the mint.

For The Falafel Wrap

To make a beautiful Falafel Wrap, simply make the falafel and spread some hummus over a round of Pita bread or Tortilla wrap. Top with a bunch of watercress then with the Falafel pieces. Drizzle with the Taratoor sauce and sprinkle with some finely chopped tomatoes and some finely chopped DS Turnip Pickles. Top all with some bean sprouts and roll the wrap and devour!

Falafel is an excellent option for cocktail parties too! You can make them small and serve them on sticks with a taratoor sauce as dip. or I love them served as mini sandwiches (wrapped in mini pita triangles).


This recipe is from the repertoire of over 280 recipes in my book Plated Heirlooms. The book contains recipes from all sections of the Palestinian cuisine, starting with Mooneh (pantry recipes) to dessert and everything in between. Plated Heirlooms is a documentation of recipes and cuisine rationale as well as the compiled story of the cuisine.

All Plated Heirlooms recipes come with background information and thorough descriptions that in the end tie up with the rest of the book’s narrative to explain to you the formation and makings of Palestinian cuisine.

You can order “Plated Heirlooms” here and we will ship it to you anywhere in the world.


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