|Region or state||Believed to have originated in Egypt before spreading north to the Levant|
|Main ingredients||Fava beans or chickpeas|
|Cookbook: Falafel Media: Falafel|
Falafel (//; Arabic: فلافل, [fæˈlæːfɪl] ( listen)) is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, commonly served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa; "falafel" also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze tray (assortment of appetizers).
Falafel is a common dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat and as a form of street food. It is also a popular food in Cyprus under the names "φελάφελ" and "ρεβιθοκεφτέδες".
The word Falāfil (Arabic: فلافل) is the plural of Filfil (فلفل), meaning "pepper". The word itself spread and is used in other languages such as  Persian pilpil (پلپل), from the Sanskrit word pippalī (पिप्पली), meaning "long pepper"; or an earlier *filfal, from Aramaic pilpāl, "small round thing, peppercorn," derived from palpēl, "to be round, roll". Thus in origin, falafel would be "rollers, little balls."
Falafel is known as taʿamiya (Egyptian Arabic: طعمية ṭaʿmiyya, IPA: [tˤɑʕˈmejjɑ]) in Egypt. The word is derived from a diminutive form of the Arabic word ṭaʿām (طعام, "food"); the particular form indicates "a unit" of the given root in this case Ṭ-ʕ-M (ط ع م, having to do with taste and food), thus meaning "a little piece of food" or "small tasty thing".
The word falafel can refer to the fritters themselves or to sandwiches filled with them.
The origin of falafel is unknown and controversial. A common theory is that the dish originated in Egypt, possibly eaten by Copts as a replacement for meat during Lent. As Alexandria is a port city, it was possible to export the dish and name to other areas in the Middle East. The dish later migrated northwards to the Levant, where chickpeas replaced the fava beans. It has been speculated that its history may go back to Pharaonic Egypt.
Falafel grew to become a common form of street food or fast food in the Middle East. The croquettes are regularly eaten as part of meze. During Ramadan, falafel balls are sometimes eaten as part of the iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast after sunset. Falafel became so popular that McDonald's for a time served a "McFalafel" in some countries. Falafel is still popular with the Copts, who cook large volumes during religious holidays. Debates over the origin of falafel have sometimes devolved into political discussions about the relationship between Arabs and Israelis. In modern times, falafel has been considered a national dish of Egypt, Palestine, and of Israel. Resentment exists amongst many Palestinians for what they see as the appropriation of their dish by Israelis. Additionally, the Lebanese Industrialists' Association has raised assertions of copyright infringement against Israel concerning falafel.
Falafel plays an iconic role in Israeli cuisine and is widely considered to be the national dish of the country. While falafel is not a specifically Jewish dish, it was eaten by Mizrahi Jews in their countries of origin. Later, it was adopted by early Jewish immigrants to Palestine. Due to its being entirely plant based, it is considered pareve under Jewish dietary laws and gained acceptance with Jews because it could be eaten with meat or dairy meals.
In 2012, in an attempt to challenge Israeli claims regarding the origins of Falafel, and reassert the Arabic identity of the food, one of the hotels in the capital of Jordan, Amman, prepared the world's largest Falafel disc weighing about 75 kg – breaking the previous record set at a Jewish food festival in the United States.
In North America, prior to the 1970s, falafel was found only in Middle Eastern and Jewish neighborhoods and restaurants. Today, the dish is a common and popular street food in many cities throughout North America.
Falafel has become popular among vegetarians and vegans, as an alternative to meat-laden street foods, and is now sold in packaged mixes in health-food stores. While traditionally thought of as being used to make veggie burgers, its use has expanded as more and more people have adopted it as a source of protein. In the United States, falafel's versatility has allowed for the reformulating of recipes for meatloaf, sloppy joes and spaghetti and meatballs into vegetarian dishes.
Preparation and variations
Falafel is made from fava beans or chickpeas, or a combination of the two. The use of chickpeas is predominant in most Middle Eastern countries. The dish is usually made with chickpeas in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. This version is the most popular in the West. The Egyptian variety uses fava beans, which are widely believed to produce a better taste. Egyptians also maintain that the fava bean falafel is the original.
When chickpeas are used, they are not cooked prior to use (cooking the chickpeas will cause the falafel to fall apart, requiring adding some flour to use as a binder). Instead they are soaked (sometimes with baking soda) overnight, then ground together with various ingredients such as parsley, scallions, and garlic. Spices such as cumin and coriander are often added to the beans for added flavor. The dried fava beans are soaked in water and then stone ground with leek, parsley, green coriander, cumin and dry coriander. The mixture is shaped into balls or patties. This can be done by hand or with a tool called an aleb falafel (falafel mould). The mixture is usually deep fried, or it can be oven baked.
When not served alone, falafel is often served with flat or unleavened bread when it is wrapped within lafa or stuffed in a hollow pita. Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and other garnishes can be added. Falafel is commonly accompanied by tahini.
Falafel is typically ball-shaped, but is sometimes made in other shapes, particularly donut-shaped. The inside of falafel may be green (from green herbs such as parsley or green onion), or tan.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,393 kJ (333 kcal)|
|Vitamin A||13 IU|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
When made with chickpeas, falafel is high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Key nutrients are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B, and folate. Phytochemicals include beta-carotene. Falafel is high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
Chickpeas are low in fat and contain no cholesterol, but a considerable amount of fat is absorbed during the frying process. Falafel can be baked to reduce the high fat content associated with frying. Although baking alters the texture and flavour, it is a preparation technique often recommended to people suffering from such health problems as diabetes.
Largest falafel ball
The current record, 74.75 kg (164.4 lb), was set on 28 July 2012 in Amman, Jordan. The previous record was 23.94 kg (52.8 lb), 1.17 m in circumference and 0.3 m in height, set at the Santa Clarita Valley Jewish Food and Cultural Festival (USA), at the College of the Canyons in Valencia, California, USA, on 15 May 2011.
Largest serving of falafel
In popular culture
- "Ρεβιθοκεφτέδες (φελάφελ)". foodmuseum.cs.ucy.ac.cy (in Greek). Cyprus Food Virtual Museum. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- American Heritage Dictionary, 5th edition (2011), s.v. falafel 
- "پلپل", Dehkhoda Dictionary
- Makar, Adeeb B. (2001). The Abbreviated Coptic-English Dictionary. Hayward, Calif.: St. Mina Monastery Press. p. 185. OCLC 609610948.
Φαλαφελ (fåˈlåfālˈ) m. Falafel. (lit. that which has lots of beans). See Φα, Λα, Φελ.
- Joseph Williams McPherson, The moulids of Egypt, 1941 Google Books
- Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition s.v. 'felafel' has a 1951 quote
- Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom (2006). The Oxford companion to food (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-19-280681-9. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
- Habeeb, Salloum (April 1, 2007). "Falafel: healthy Middle Eastern hamburgers capture the West.". Vegetarian Journal. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
- Ham, Anthony (2010). Africa. Footscray, Victoria: Lonely Planet. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-74104-988-6. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
- Petrini, Carlo; Watson, Benjamin (2001). Slow food : collected thoughts on taste, tradition, and the honest pleasures of food. Chelsea Green Publishing. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-931498-01-2. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Galili, Shooky (July 4, 2007). "Falafel fact sheet". Ynet News. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Raviv, Yael (August 1, 2003). "Falafel: A National Icon". Gastronomica 3 (3): 20–25. doi:10.1525/gfc.2003.3.3.20. JSTOR 10.
- Denker, Joel (2003). The World on a Plate: A Tour Through the History of America's Ethnic Cuisine. U of Nebraska Press. p. 41. ISBN 0-8133-4003-9.
- Green, Aliza (2004). Beans. Running Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-7624-1931-9.
- Kantor, Jodi (July 10, 2002). "A History of the Mideast in the Humble Chickpea". The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2008.
- MacLeod, Hugh (October 12, 2008). "Lebanon turns up the heat as falafels fly in food fight". The Age. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
- Wilson, Hilary (1988). Egyptian food and drink. Shire. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-85263-972-6.
- Kelley, Leigh (January 28, 2010). "Dining with a Middle Eastern flair". Times-News. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
- Allison, Jerry (January 6, 2009). "Fast food – Middle Eastern style". The News Journal. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Roden, Claudia (2000). The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Random House. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-375-40506-8.
- Claudia Roden A Book of Middle Eastern Food (Penguin, 1970) pp. 60–61.
- Williams, Emma (2006). It's Easier to Reach Heaven than the End of the Street. Great Britain: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 378. ISBN 978-0-7475-8559-6.
- Karmi, Ghada (2002). In Search of Fatima. U.S.A.: Verso New Left Books. p. 39. ISBN 1-85984-561-4.
- Nocke, Alexandra (2009). The place of the Mediterranean in modern Israeli identity. Jewish identities in a changing world 11. Brill. p. 125. ISBN 978-90-04-17324-8.
- Alan Davidson, Oxford Companion to Food (Oxford University Press, 1999) p. 287
- Pilcher, Jeffrey M. (2006). Food in World History. Routledge. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-415-31146-5.
- Nahmias, Roee (June 10, 2008). "Lebanon: Israel stole our falafel". Ynet News. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- Thorne, Matt; Thorne, John (2007). Mouth Wide Open: A Cook and His Appetite. Macmillan. pp. 181–187. ISBN 978-0-86547-628-8. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- Charles Perry, "Middle Eastern Influences on American Food" in Andrew F. Smith, ed., The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, ISBN 0-19-530796-8, p. 384
- Grogan, Bryanna Clark (July 2003). "Falafel without fat". Vegetarian Times. pp. 20, 22. ISSN 0164-8497. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Curtis IV, Edward (2010). Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History, Volume 1. Infobase Publishing. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-8160-7575-1. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Lenhard, Elizabeth (January 2006). "Cuisine of the Month". Atlanta Magazine: 194. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Schmidt, Arno; Fieldhouse, Paul (2007). The World Religions Cookbook. Greenwood Publishing. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-313-33504-4. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Westmoreland, Susan; Editors of Good Housekeeping (2004). The Good Housekeeping Cookbook. Hearst Books. ISBN 978-1-58816-398-1. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Wolfe, Frankie Avalon (2007). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian. Penguin Group. pp. 175, 186. ISBN 978-1-59257-682-1. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- Murphy, Jane (2010). The Great Big Burger Book: 100 New and Classic Recipes for Mouth Watering Burgers Every Day Every Way. ReadHowYouWant.com. p. 304. ISBN 978-1-4587-6463-8. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Berkoff R.D., Nancy (1999). Vegan in volume: vegan quantity recipes for every occasion. Vegan in volume: Vegan Quantity recipes for every occasion. ISBN 978-0-931411-21-2. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- Leonard, Joanne (October 1996). "New Ways with Falafel: The Middle Eastern favorite has evolved from a high fat sandwich stuffer to a low fat meal magician". Vegetarian Times. pp. 36, 38. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- Whitney, Winona (June 1991). "Minute Meals". Vegetarian Times. p. 30. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Campion, Charles (May 9, 2002). "Falling for fine falafel". Evening Standard. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
- Malouf, Greg; Malouf, Lucy (2008). Artichoke to Za'atar: Modern Middle Eastern Food. University of California Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-520-25413-8. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Ayto, John (1990). The glutton's glossary: a dictionary of food and drink terms. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02647-4. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Dimbleby, Henry; Baxter, Jane (20 March 2015). "The world’s best falafel recipe comes from Egypt". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- Baba, Hana (October 13, 2012). "When It Comes To Falafel, The Flavors Of Home Can Vary". NPR. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- Bittman, Mark (2007-04-04). "For the Best Falafel, Do It All Yourself". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Kathrynne Holden. "Fava Beans, Levodopa, and Parkinson's Disease".
- Russ Parsons. "The Long History of the Mysterious Fava Bean".
- Basan, Ghillie (2007). Middle Eastern Kitchen. Hippocrene Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7818-1190-3.
- Marks, Gil (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish food. John Wiley & Sons. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-470-39130-3. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Winget, Mary; Chalbi, Habib (2003). Cooking the North African Way (2 ed.). Twenty-First Century Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8225-4169-1. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- Webb, Robyn (2004). Eat to Beat High Blood Pressure. Readers Digest. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-7621-0508-3. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Balch, Phyllis A. (2003). Prescription for Dietary Wellness (2 ed.). Avery. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-58333-147-7. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Katz, David; Gonzalez, Maura (2004). Way to Eat: A Six-Step Path to Lifelong Weight Control. Sourcebooks, Inc. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-4022-0264-3. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Piscatella, Joseph; Franklin, Barry (2003). Take a load off your heart: 109 things you can actually do to prevent, halt, or reverse heart disease. Workman Publishing. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-7611-2676-8. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- House, Bonnie; Fleming, Diana; Brinegar, Linda; Kennedy, Linda; Newman, Ian Blake (2008). The 30-Day Diabetes Miracle Cookbook: Stop Diabetes with an Easy-To-Follow Plant-Based, Carb-Counting Diet. Penguin. pp. 129, 130. ISBN 978-0-399-53421-8. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Abuqudairi, Areej (Jul 29, 2012). "Jordan earns Guinness record for world's largest falafel". The Jordan Times. Retrieved Jul 31, 2012.
- "Largest Falafel". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "Largest serving of falafel". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
|Look up falafel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Cookbook:Falafel|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Falafel.|