If you have recently fallen for falafel you are certainly in good company, as this delicious treat has wooed millions throughout the years. Here is a brief look at how it all began as well as what makes falafel so special.
If you are one of the few who have never eaten falafel, prepare yourself for a new favourite food. Lebanese falafel is made from chick peas which are soaked, ground and mixed with spices, such as cumin, chili, garlic and coriander. This mix is then formed into balls or patties and fried. Falafel balls can be eaten on their own, with a side of hommus or tabouleh, or as part of a full sized meal – the most popular approach is to stuff them inside a pita with a salad and a drizzle of tahini on top.
Everyone from Palestinians to Indians to Israelis claim to have been the first to eat falafel and considering that its main ingredients have been around for thousands of years it is little wonder that so many have developed such a strong affinity with this popular food. However, falafel almost certainly originated in Egypt, where it was first known as ra’amia and was made using fava beans rather than chick peas. Many believe that is was Egyptian Christians who created falafel, using it as a meat substitute on days when their diet was restricted by their religious beliefs.
Apart from being delicious, falafel is fast, cheap and healthy, making it the ideal snack food. While it takes quite a few hours to soak the chick peas, cooking falafel is extremely quick, making it very attractive for those looking to save money on fuel. Furthermore, its core ingredients are not only inexpensive, they are easy to transport and can keep for long periods of time without spoiling. Best of all, falafel is high in protein; it contains carbohydrates, fibre and an array of vitamins and minerals as well, including potassium, magnesium and folate. Falafel is also low in fat, salt and cholesterol.
From its humble beginnings in ancient Egypt, falafel quickly spread throughout the Middle East and beyond. Ancient sailors are credited with the early rise in falafel’s popularity, many of whom would have stocked up on falafel in the port city of Alessandria and taken these tasty treats with them as far as Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. The popularity of falafel in Israel is attributed to the influence of Yemeni immigrants during the 1950’s, while places like Australia have their Lebanese born citizens to thank for this delicious treat. Nowadays you can find falafel almost everywhere, from Brisbane to Baghdad to Boston.
While there are many who can make a tasty falafel, few can match the fresh, healthy and authentic Lebanese version. If you have fallen for falafel and are looking to indulge your newfound love, stop by Manoosh or order online, we’d be happy to prepare this delicious and healthy Lebanese food for you!