Falafel is used in Indian cooking and is eaten in Pakistan. In Israel, falafel is considered a tasty snack. Chick pea falafel is served in the Middle East while fava bean falafel is prepared in Egypt and Sudan. Falafel is considered a fast food in some places and is sold by street vendors.
In recent years, falafel has made an appearance in North America. Falafel mixes are turning up in health food stores and markets and fried falafel balls and patties are served in trendy restaurants.
What is Falafel?
Falafel is a vegetarian food made from either ground field beans, ground chick peas, or a mixture of the two. Prior to use, the beans are soaked, then they are ground and mixed with other herbs and spices.
Unlike other recipes, which use cooked beans, falafel is made from uncooked or lightly cooked beans.
Common ingredients in falafel include: onions, garlic, parsley, mint, coriander and cumin. These ingredients are added to the falafel mixture and impart color and flavor.
Sesame seeds are sometimes added to falafel, especially if falafel is to be used as a stand-alone dish.
How is Falafel prepared?
Falafel can be purchased in a convenient falafel mix, which is moistened with water and allowed to sit. The falafel is usually shaped into balls and deep fried or shaped into patties and cooked in a frying pan.
Falafel scoops aid in making perfectly shaped falafel balls. Falafel makers usually have a lever so that falafel nuggets can be released into hot oil.
Some people choose to make their own falafel. This takes more time but making homemade falafel allows for greater choice of which herbs and spices go into a falafel recipe.
How is Falafel Served?
Falafel can be served alone or as a side dish. Tasty falafel balls are used as an ingredient in pita bread and in salads. Falafel patties can be used to make falafel burgers. Falafel is often served with a variety of pickled vegetables and sauces such as tahini or yogurt are used to top falafel.
Recent inventions have involved use of filled falafel. The falafel is used as a savory coating around other ingredients such as ground meat or onions.
Falafel bars are popular eating places and falafel has caught on to the extent that there is now a McFalafel burger offered via McDonalds in certain areas.
Falafel is a nutritious, high-protein, high fiber food. For those who want to cut down on fat, falafel balls and patties can be baked in the oven.
Falafel is a satisfying, versatile food, vegetarian fare that offers a tasty way to get beans into the diet.