Falafel is a popular dish in the Middle East that can be a side dish or the main course. It is also treated as fast food, made of a mixture of chickpeas, fresh and dried herbs, and spices.
While countries like Lebanon, Yemen, Palestine, and others claim falafel belongs to them, the dish is known to be of Egyptian origin.
Falafel was invented around 140 years ago, with French journalist Paul Balta and Syrian historian Farouk Mardam Bey showing that falafel first appeared in Egyptian literature after the British occupation in 1882.
Both men suggest that British officers, who had acquired a taste for Indian fried vegetable croquettes, asked for a similar dish using local ingredients, and Egyptians came up with falafel.
Falafel is a dish that vegans and vegetarians can enjoy as it is dairy-free and consists of legumes, herbs, and spices.
To make the dish you need two cups of dried chickpeas, one tsp of baking soda, one tsp of baking powder, one cup of parsley, half a cup of coriander, half a cup of mint, one tbsp of ground cumin, one tbsp of ground coriander, one tsp cayenne pepper (optional), two tbsp toasted sesame seeds, one onion, six garlic cloves, salt and pepper, flatbread, tahini, tomato, cucumber, parsley, pickle, and chilli sauce.
Soak the dried chickpeas in water overnight, adding baking soda, mixing and leaving it at room temperature for 8 -12 hours. The next day, chop the onion, garlic, and herbs, add them to a food processor with the chickpeas, baking powder, sesame seeds, and the spices, and half blend until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Shape the falafel into balls and fry them until they turn dark brown.
For the tahini salad, mix tahini with diced tomatoes and cucumbers, then add salt and lemon juice.
Place falafel inside the bread, add tahini salad on top, add pickles or chilli sauce if desired, roll the bread, and serve.