Egyptian Lebanese Mediterranean

All About Falafel, History, Origin, and Preparation

Falafel is a middle eastern dish, which everyone from other cultures tastes delicious, made from beans or chickpeas or both, in the form of balls fried in vegetable oil, and a group of vegetables such as radish, mint and parsley, tomatoes, and pickles, then sprinkled with “tarator”, a mixture of milk and tahini made from sesame, which is included in the manufacture of a hummus dish, which has also become a global dish and includes a range of spices in its mixture.

The difference in taste between the plaintiff of owning the”intellectual and cultural rights” in the middle east is achieved by spices, which are a secret of the kitchen, and then there are some additions to the dish, in Syria, onions and coriander are added, and in Palestine, chickpeas with tahini and pomegranate molasses to taste, and in Egypt eaten with pickles only, and in Lebanon garlic is added to the mixture of chickpeas and beans.

The ingredients of this sandwich have great nutritional benefits, making this dish or sandwich a favorite of vegetarians, non-vegetarians, the poor, and the wealthy, in his home country and in the country to which he emigrated with immigrants from the middle east.

The Origin Of Falafel

Many countries in the middle east differed in their origins, but all the documents confirm that falafel is of Egyptian origin, the first to be made by the ancient Egyptians, after eating beans where they added to the beans some vegetables that makeup falafel paste today, where the inscriptions of falafel appeared inside the temple of the valley of the kings in Luxor, and the inscriptions explained how to shower beans and add vegetables to it, and how to cook them through frying or protecting them, and over time the Egyptians were artful in their development of developing them from the city of Luxor. by adding new foods to them such as a sandwich and eggs.

But every city in Egypt has a special character in its preparation, for example in Alexandria, falafel preparation is different from other provinces to which breadcrumbs are added, while this does not happen in Alexandria, and therefore retains its original taste.

The secret to the distinctive color of falafel, which is green from the inside and brown from the outside, lies in the various ingredients that give it a very distinctive taste, and those flavors are green coriander, crushed beans, spices, leeks, onions and garlic to offer the tastiest taste you can taste.

Dispute And Dispute Over Its Origins:

After falafel’s international fame, the cultural and political conflict over its origins began. Egyptians who call it Tamiya, a bite of food, say it is of pharaonic or Coptic origins. According to some references, falafel was about a thousand years ago the food of choice among Coptic Christians in Egypt, and they served it as a vegetarian fasting meal, and that its name came from Alexandria, where it was the first to be called “fa- la-fell,” a Coptic word meaning “many beans.”

In the Levant, the conflict is most intense, first between Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese, and each team attributes it to its table, and there is a conflict between all of them and the Israelis who consider it an essential and original component of their table, and they sell it all over the world on this basis, until it mingled with its eaters around the world at its origin, and essentially, entered the hummus and tabbouleh dish in this property conflict, too.

According to the Palestinian popular heritage, falafel is known to Palestinians as linked to Fridays, when the family gathers at the dining table and falafel is the main dish that brings them together, along with chickpeas, beans, Arab salads, and Jerusalem cakes covered with sesame. Before the end of 1961, Palestinians and Arabs considered his response to the Israeli table as a robbery by fundamentalist European Jewish immigrants who decided to obliterate everything related to Arab culture and traditions and falafel one of them.

Falafel Around The World

Falafel has spread to Greece, Brazil, and America, and in most Arab countries with the same name as Egyptian, and has become used as another word, “balbal”, the round thing in Persian.

In Egypt and Sudan, it was called “Tamiya”, which is a miniaturization of the word “food”, yet Alexandrians still call it “falafel”, called baguya in Yemen, and in Damascus, they call it falafel.

However, its name differs from those who call it a Tamiya has been known as history says since the pharaohs, but it is not known exactly when it began to occupy a place on Egyptian dining tables.

Egyptian Tamiya with eggs

After completing the mixture of taste with beans and vegetables and rub them, add the eggs cast, form large tablets and decorate with sesame, and fry as usual.

Alexandrian ta’amiya, Alexandria offers a slightly different type of ta’amiya than in Cairo and Alexandria’s taste depends on adding spices to it, especially the seedling, where in addition to the previous ingredients a little bit of the seedling as desired in addition to dry coriander.

In Syria

Falafel has its fame and distinctive taste in Syria and Jordan and from the popular heritage of Syria, the chickpeas (only without beans) are well drained from the soaking water and grinded in a meat mill or electric mixer. The grinding process is repeated more than once in order to get the chickpeas finely ground.

During grinding, add occasionally other ingredients (onions, garlic, parsley). When all the material is grinding, place the mixture in a bowl and mix well. Add spices (cumin, black pepper, dry coriander, and table salt), dissolve the bicarbonate in half a cup of water, pour over the ingredients, mix well and use a special mold to fry falafel.

Add a little sumac or sesame on top of the falafel after frying it to taste and eat with pickles. They can be placed in sandwiches or served in the form of meals.

However, the amounts vary from region to region and from one place to another within one city and many modifications and developments are still made in the form of disks or even the method of submission.

In Saudi Arabia

Falafel is famous in Saudi Arabia, made from chickpeas with the addition of parsley, coriander, salt, cumin and pepper (onions as desired) first soak the chickpeas in water for a day or more and then chop with the rest of the contents and be ready for frying.

In Iraq

The chickpeas are soaked in water for a certain period of approximately (12 hours) and then drained from this water and grinded in the meat mill and grind with it a little onion and garlic and kneaded together and added to the pastry pepper and a little bicarbonate and mixed well and fried, then placed in sandwiches and placed on top of it the delicious Iraqi turban, and works as sandwiches (rolls) in delicious Iraqi stone bread, which is like those in Syria except for the turban and the sun.

The gum and turban make the taste of Iraqi falafel different from the Levant. It is the first fast food in Iraq for its taste and cheapness.

In Palestine

Made from chickpeas or peas and added parsley and blazing sauce, fried in oil using metal molds. Fast restaurants have also spread to cities in Palestine, and are also fried inside homes as a lunch.

In Lebanon

Falafel in Lebanon is made from a mixture of chickpeas and ground beans, with spices added. Rotate into tablets using a falafel mold and then fry with a bowl filled with frying oil boiling in a deep copper bowl. Pull when cooked to cool and dry from oil.

International Falafel Day

International falafel day is celebrated around the world on June 12 each year. It is observed that this occasion brings together all falafel lovers. The purpose of this day is to encourage people to eat falafel. Falafel is a fried ball made from ground chickpeas. It can also be flat or doughnut-shaped.

Falafel has become a subject of concern to vegetarians around the world as a whole food that compensates them for not eating meat, and today it is part of a series of international events classified by united nations organizations, as it is present on world pulse day as cereal and world food day. World hunger day, one of UNESCO’s “intangible heritage”, was even celebrated by google on June 18, 2019, making many believe it is world falafel day, and hundreds of investigations have been published. Articles and reports on this basis, but it was not a global falafel day, but a choice of google’s falafel operators on world sustainable cooking day, cooking that can eradicate hunger and help the poor around the world.

Interesting Facts About Falafel

  1. Many countries in the Middle East have been awarded the creation of falafel. However, some ancient Egyptian paintings seem to depict people frying ball-shaped food. Therefore, falafel was most likely developed in Egypt.
  • Chef Dawn and Chef Dan Walker set a world record for preparing a 52.8 lb, 12.5-inch-tall falafel ball at the Santa Clarita Valley Jewish Food and Cultural Festival near Los Angeles.
  • A Coptic Egyptian origin has recently been proposed via the unattested phrase *pha la phel meaning “of many beans”.
  • The Arabic word falāfil has been globalized into many other languages and spread around the rest of the world as the general name for this food. In English, it is first attested in 1941.
  • Falafel was also served at McDonald’s for a period of time on the breakfast menu in Egypt under the name “McFalafel”.
  • In modern times, falafel has been considered the national dish of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria.
  • Falafel has become popular among vegetarians and vegans, as an alternative to meat-based street foods.
  • The croquettes are regularly eaten as part of a meze. During Ramadan, falafel balls are sometimes eaten as part of the iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast after sunset.

Falafel In America

Falafel in America has a special place, it is one of the most prominent foods that Americans have come to prefer, and it keeps its name, and even its amounts well. At first, the sign of the same name was strange and funny for many, and when you receive any of your guests or friends and offer them falafel immediately they ask you about its name and inspire you to know its components and places of purchase distinctive and spread in almost most American states, the scene is no longer strange to find yourself in the middle of a long line of Americans and you are waiting for falafel that has become present in many and varied forms, and the methods of preparation vary from place to place, and occupy with Arab shawarma, especially those that are considered chicken, a special place from the Arab restaurant accepted by many citizens of America.

The city of falafel, the American city of new york, is the most prominent city spread among falafel, you find more than 40 fast-food restaurants serving falafel

Among its ingredients, not only Arab restaurants but there are some famous American restaurants that have become Arab chefs to serve their different recipes from falafel on the menu offered by their hotels or restaurants, whether as appetizers or as main meals, also in a number of major places in Los Angeles and many other US States.

The American demand for falafel in this way is not only due to its components or the way it is offered from one place to another, but many Americans love experimentation and accept to taste new things, Americans really love falafel, and many women accept to inquire about falafel ingredients and the way they are prepared, and some of them try to prepare them at home and then present them, and Syrian falafel may be more favorable for some because they are served in many ways, but traditional falafel sandwiches with simple vegetables are what Americans accept and love most.

The Difference Between Falafel And Tamiya

Falafel or Tamiya is one of the popular foods that have entered every house in Egypt, the Levant, and Yemen, and is one of the most popular foods in the Arab world, but the taste is slightly different from falafel.

A report published by CNN on the origin of the word falafel is attributed it to the ancient Coptic language, which is derived from the word fa la fell, a word that expresses the thing that contains beans, and some felt that it belonged to the word balbal in Armenian and it means the round thing.

The ingredients of Tamiya and falafel are united in all ingredients of vegetables such as parsley, green coriander, garlic, onions, and spices such as cumin, salt, and pepper, but the difference between falafel and Tamiya depends on the use of beans and chickpeas, where the people of sham use chickpeas with those ingredients to produce falafel, and Egyptians use beans and grind them with spices and vegetables to eat bait.

Ancient Egyptians were the first to use falafel or Tamiya in Egypt, where they used it during their fasting period when they were deprived of meat and dairy as their alternative food, and then moved to Damascus and Yemen, where the people of Damascus added chickpeas instead of beans and called them falafel, and moved to Yemen and called it the bagia.

How Its Made


Tamiya is called in most parts of Egypt and Sudan, and falafel in Yemen, which are fried balls, cakes, or tablets made mainly from chickpeas, beans, or both, depending on the country in which they were made. Its origins are from Egypt. Falafel in Egypt is one of the traditional foods essential for a wide range of Egyptians, so much so that there are stores that are limited to selling beans and falafel. Falafel is usually served with bread or wrapped in bread known as a tabun. The word “falafel” also often refers to a sandwich prepared in this way. Falafel balls are usually served with pickled vegetables, salads, spicy sauce, and a plate of sesame and tahini. Falafel can be eaten as a snack on its own or as an appetizer. Falafel is made from dried legumes soaked in water for a while, then grinded and mixed with vegetables in some countries until green. Add spices such as salt, black pepper, and chili (dried chili), and then fry with hot oil or regular oil. It looks like discs or balls. Falafel varies in the way it is made in terms of the number of ingredients. It is classified into two types: made from ground beans as made by the people of Egypt, or made from ground chickpeas that they used to make in this way in the levant and Sudan, or made in both. Falafel is made from balls manually or semi-manually using special molds to make them, a copper cylinder, or using modern machines such as Jordan, Syria. Palestine and Egypt are unpopular. Falafel is a popular food in the middle east, and falafel is now found all over the world as an alternative and is considered one of the most popular traditional foods for vegetarians and food available to them.

Syrian falafel

Falafel in Syria has a taste and a reputation. It is considered a folklore dish. It is made without grain. Drain chickpeas after soaking well in water at room temperature. Grind the chickpeas in the meat grinder or in an electric blender. After cutting it must be good and therefore repeated. Grind more than once until the ground chickpeas reach the right smoothness, add during grinding every now and then the rest of the other ingredients such as salt, onions, garlic, and coriander. When you have finished grinding all the ingredients, put them in a bowl and mix well, add additional spices such as (cumin, salt, dry coriander, and black pepper), after mixing these spices, bring sodium bicarbonate and dissolve in water. Well, the copper mold is used to form falafel paste. Add sesame over falafel balls after cooking completely in frying oil and a little sumac and add sesame as desired, and can be grinded or placed in bread with tahini mixed with milk or soft chickpeas with tahini (Shami) rosary tomato slices and pickles of different types by choice (cucumber, carrots, turnips, and onions) are also served with parsley and there are those who cut fresh cucumbers and leafy vegetables such as lettuce, watercress, cabbage, pomegranate molasses or lemon slices.

To Finish Off

The falafel sandwich is part of the “intangible heritage” of the middle east, and regardless of the origins of this dish, it has been able to impose itself globally and adapt to the different tastes of the kitchens. It has contributed to raising the level of equality between rich and poor eaters, at least. It will contribute to the unification of cultures sooner or later, no team will be sure of its own without another, can the Italians say that the “pizza” is Italian after it became a global dish whose forms have changed according to the kitchens of the world? Can the german hamburgers say that their hamburgers want to restore it after it has become one of the bright signs of globalization?

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  1. Amir says:

    I don’t know who is saying This food is for Egypt!? How you can say this while the NAME OF THIS FOOD IS PERSIAN! Falafel that you say this name is an Original Persian Name! IT’S a Shame.
    Falafel is Writes فلافل in Iran and it’s an Official food of South of Iran. I don’t know who says this is an Egyptian Food for first time!

    1. Kaoutar says:

      Hi Amir, thank you for your observation. however Arab countries are the origins of falafel. According to the Iranians living in southern cities, this sandwich that has become ubiquitous in Iran these days is the same Lebanese falafel that made its way into Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan at first and then became prevalent throughout the country.

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