Falafel

Falafel (/fəˈlɑːfəl/; Arabic: فلافل‎, [fæˈlæːfɪl] (About this soundlisten), dialectal: [fæˈlæːfel]) 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 taboon; "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
Falafels 2.jpg
Falafel balls
Alternative namesFelafel
CourseMeze
Region or stateMiddle East
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsFava beans or chickpeas

Falafel is a common dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat[1] and as a form of street food.

EtymologyEdit

The word falāfil (Arabic: فلافل‎) is the plural of filfil (فلفل) 'pepper',[2] borrowed from Persian pilpil (پلپل),[3] from the Sanskrit word pippalī (पिप्पली) 'long pepper'; or an earlier *filfal, from Aramaic pilpāl 'small round thing, peppercorn', derived from palpēl 'to be round, roll'.[citation needed]

The name falāfil is used world-wide. In English, it is first attested in 1941.[4][5]

Falafel is known as taʿamiya (Egyptian Arabic: طعميةṭaʿmiyya, IPA: [tˤɑʕˈmejjɑ]) in Egypt and Sudan. 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".[6][7][8]

The word falafel can refer to the fritters themselves or to sandwiches filled with them.

HistoryEdit

The dish originated in Egypt,[9] possibly eaten by Copts as a replacement for meat during Lent.[10][11] As Alexandria is a port city, it was possible to export the dish and name to other areas in the Middle East.[12] The dish later migrated northwards to the Levant, where chickpeas replaced the fava beans.[13][14] It has been speculated that its history may go back to Pharaonic Egypt.[15]

 
Falafel sandwich

Middle EastEdit

Falafel grew to become a common form of street food or fast food in Egypt as well as the Levant.[16] 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.[7] Falafel became so popular that McDonald's for a time served a "McFalafel" in its breakfast menu all over Egypt.[17] Falafel is still popular with the Copts, who cook large volumes during religious holidays.[18] Debates over the origin of falafel have sometimes devolved into political discussions about the relationship between Arabs and Israelis.[13] In modern times, falafel has been considered a national dish of Egypt,[19] Palestine,[20][21] and of Israel.[22][23] Resentment exists amongst many Palestinians for what they see as the appropriation of their dish by Israelis.[24] Additionally, the Lebanese Industrialists' Association has raised assertions of copyright infringement against Israel concerning falafel.[13][14][25]

Falafel plays an iconic role in Israeli cuisine and is widely considered to be the national dish of the country.[24] While falafel is not a specifically Jewish dish, it was eaten by Mizrahi Jews in their countries of origin.[26][13] Later, it was adopted by early Jewish immigrants to Palestine.[24] 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.[27]

In 2012, 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.[28][29]

North AmericaEdit

 
Despite the frying process, the inside of a falafel remains soft.

In North America, prior to the 1970s, falafel was found only in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Jewish neighborhoods and restaurants.[1][27][30][31] Today, the dish is a common and popular street food in many cities throughout North America.[32][33][34]

VegetarianismEdit

Falafel has become popular among vegetarians and vegans, as an alternative to meat-based street foods,[1] and is now sold in packaged mixes in health-food stores.[35] While traditionally thought of as being used to make veggie burgers,[36] its use has expanded as more and more people have adopted it as a source of protein.[37] 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.[38][39]

Preparation and variationsEdit

 
A man using an aleb falafel while frying falafel

Falafel is made from fava beans or chickpeas, or a combination. Chickpeas are common in most Middle Eastern countries.[40] The dish is usually made with chickpeas in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine.[18][41][42] This version is the most popular in the West.[18] The Egyptian variety uses only fava beans.[43]

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.[18] Spices such as cumin and coriander are often added to the beans for added flavor.[44] The dried fava beans are soaked in water and then stone ground with leek, parsley, green coriander, cumin and dry coriander.[45][46] The mixture is shaped into balls or patties. This can be done by hand or with a tool called an aleb falafel (falafel mould).[6][40] 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[47] when it is wrapped within lafa or stuffed in a hollow pita.[48] Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and other garnishes can be added.[49] Falafel is commonly accompanied by tahini.[18]

Falafel is typically ball-shaped, but is sometimes made in other shapes, particularly doughnut-shaped. The inside of falafel may be green (from green herbs such as parsley or green onion), or tan.

NutritionEdit

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy1,393 kJ (333 kcal)
31.84 g
17.80 g
13.31 g
VitaminsQuantity %DV
Vitamin A13 IU
Thiamine (B1)
13%
0.146 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
14%
0.166 mg
Niacin (B3)
7%
1.044 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
6%
0.292 mg
Vitamin B6
10%
0.125 mg
Folate (B9)
20%
78 μg
Vitamin B12
0%
0.00 μg
MineralsQuantity %DV
Calcium
5%
54 mg
Iron
26%
3.42 mg
Magnesium
23%
82 mg
Manganese
33%
0.691 mg
Phosphorus
27%
192 mg
Potassium
12%
585 mg
Sodium
20%
294 mg
Zinc
16%
1.50 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water34.62 g
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.[50] Key nutrients are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B, and folate. Phytochemicals include beta-carotene.[51] Falafel is high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol.[52][53]

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.[1][49]

World recordsEdit

Largest falafel ballEdit

The current record, 74.75 kg (164 lb 12 34 oz), was set on 28 July 2012 in Amman, Jordan.[28] The previous record was 23.94 kg (52 lb 12 12 oz), 1.17 m (3 ft 10 in) in circumference and 0.3 m (1 ft), set at the Santa Clarita Valley Jewish Food and Cultural Festival (US), at the College of the Canyons in Valencia, California, US, on 15 May 2011.[54]

Largest serving of falafelEdit

The record, 5,173 kg (11,404 lb 8 oz), was set by Chef Ramzi Choueiri and the students of Al-Kafaat University (Lebanon) in Beirut on 9 May 2010.[55]

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

  • Vada (food): Parippu vada is a similar-tasting south Indian preparation using lentils (toor daal)

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit