FALAFEL | Israel's Favourite Street Food


Without a doubt, Israel's favourite street food is Falafel. Deep fried crispy balls of delicious yumminess jump straight from the pan into a fresh, fluffy pitta bread filled with all manner of salads and garnishes, topped with a generous dollop of tehina sauce. Impossible to eat without the sauce dripping everywhere and the pitta collapsing under the weight of its luscious contents, this street food treat is super popular with locals and tourists alike.

You can find a falafel vendor on almost every corner but slight variations in closely guarded recipes have Israelis frequenting their favourite.  International fast food brands like Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks have tried to break into the Israeli fast food market but failed. The humble falafel continues to hold its own despite changing food trends.

Falafel balls are a middle-eastern dish made from spiced mashed chickpeas that are formed into balls or fritters and deep fried. They are at their best when eaten fresh and hot but can also be served with  salads and pickles mezze-style.

Like the Middle East in general, there is much controversy and rivalry about the origin of this dish but there is no doubt that it originated in the Middle East and that its popularity crosses borders and people groups. There is even an International Falafel Day that takes place on the 12th June each year.

If you visit Israel, make sure you check out one of the many falafel stands and see for yourself what all the fuss is about!



You can also make them yourself either from a packet mix from your local supermarket or by following a simple recipe like this one from The Spruce Eats:

Quick and Easy Falafel 

Ingredients

1  can chickpeas 400g (15oz) (drained)
1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon coriander
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons flour
canola or vegetable oil (or amount needed for frying)

Method

1) Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper (to taste) in a medium bowl. Add flour and combine well.
2) Mash chickpeas, making sure to mix ingredients together. You can also combine ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste.
3) Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping-pong ball. Slightly flatten.
4) Fry in about 5cm (2 inches) of oil until golden brown (2 to 5 minutes).
5) Serve falafel by itself, or with hot pita bread with salad or veggies and tahini sauce.

Enjoy!