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….