|Region or state||Middle East|
|Main ingredients||Fava beans or chickpeas|
Falafel ( //; Arabic: فلافل, [fæˈlæːfɪl] ( listen)) is a deep-fried ball or patty-shaped fritter 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 is eaten throughout the Middle East and is a common street food. Falafel is usually made with fava beans in Egypt and with chickpeas in the Levant. It is popular with vegetarians world-wide. 
The word falāfil ( Arabic: فلافل) is of Arabic origin and is the plural of filfil ( فلفل) 'pepper',  borrowed from Persian pilpil (فلفل),  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'. 
Falafel is known as taʿmiya ( Egyptian Arabic: طعمية ṭaʿmiyya, IPA: [tˤɑʕˈmejjɑ]) in most of Egypt and in Sudan. The word is derived from a diminutive singulative 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 controversial.  The dish most likely originated in Egypt, possibly influenced by similar Indian dishes.      There is a legend that a fava bean version was eaten by Copts as early as the 4th century during Lent, but there is no documentary evidence for this. It has been speculated that its history may go back to Pharaonic Egypt.  However, the earliest written references to falafel from Egyptian sources date to the 19th century,    and oil was probably too expensive to use for deep frying in ancient Egypt.  
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.  
Falafel is a common form of street food or fast food in Egypt as well as the Levant.  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 its breakfast menu all over Egypt.  Falafel is still popular with the Copts, who cook large volumes during religious holidays. 
Debates over the history 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 Israel.   Many Palestinians resent 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 Ottoman Palestine.  As it is plant-based, Jewish dietary laws classify it as pareve and thus allow it to be eaten with both meat and dairy meals. 
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.  
In North America, prior to the 1970s, falafel was found only in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean 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-based 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.  
Falafel is made from fava beans or chickpeas, or a combination. Chickpeas are common in most Middle Eastern countries.  The dish is usually made with chickpeas in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine.    This version is the most popular in the West.  The Egyptian variety uses only fava beans. 
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.
Falafel is typically ball-shaped, but is sometimes made in other shapes, particularly doughnut-shaped.[ citation needed] The inside of falafel may be green (from green herbs such as parsley or green onion), or tan.
When served as a sandwich, falafel is often wrapped with flatbread or stuffed in a hollow pita,  or it can be served with flat or unleavened bread.  Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and other garnishes can be added.   Falafel is commonly accompanied by tahini sauce. 
Pita falafel was popularized after Israel's independence and in the 1950s by Jewish Yemeni immigrants. Yemeni Jews are the first to introduce the concept of falafel served in a pita.  An October 19, 1939 Palestine Post article is the first mention of the concept of falafels served in a pita bread. 
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,393 kJ (333 kcal)|
|Vitamin A||13 IU|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using
US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA FoodData Central
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.  
The current record, 74.75 kg (164 lb 12+3⁄4 oz), was set on 28 July 2012 in Amman, Jordan.  The previous record was 23.94 kg (52 lb 12+1⁄2 oz), 1.17 m (3 ft 10 in) in circumference and 0.3 m (1 ft) in diameter, 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. 
- Vada (food): Parippu vada is a similar-tasting south Indian preparation using lentils (toor daal)
- Grogan, Bryanna Clark (July 2003). "Falafel without fat". Vegetarian Times. pp. 20, 22. ISSN 0164-8497. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- "falafel". American Heritage Dictionary (5th ed.). 2011.
- "دیکشنری آنلاین - Dehkhoda dictionary - معنی پلپل". abadis.ir. Retrieved 2021-01-06.
- "Definition of falafel | Dictionary.com". www.dictionary.com. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
- McPherson, Joseph Williams (1941). The moulids of Egypt.
- "felafel". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989. has a 1951 quote.
- Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom (2006). The Oxford companion to food (2nd 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.
- Helman, Anat (2015).
Jews and Their Foodways. Oxford University Press.
The claim that Indian cooking may have influenced the invention of falafel is reasonable. There are many fried foods in India that predate falafel and that are similar in shape and consistency. British soldiers familiar with vada, ambode, dal ke pakode and other fried foods might easily have experimented and encouraged resourceful Egyptian chefs to come up with a local equivalent.
- Galili, Shooky (July 4, 2007). "Falafel fact sheet". Ynet News. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Lee, Alexander (1 January 2019). "Historian's Cookbook - Falafel". History Today. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
- "A short wrap-up of the history of falafel". ZME Science. 2020-07-21. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- "The falafel battle: which country cooks it best?". the Guardian. 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- Wilson, Hilary (1988). Egyptian food and drink. Shire. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-85263-972-6.
- 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.
- Solomonov, Michael (2018). Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious. Houghton Mifflim. ISBN 9780544970373.
- Liz Steinberg. "Food Wars: Did Jews Invent Falafel After All?". Haaretz.
- 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 8 January 2020.
- MacLeod, Hugh (October 12, 2008). "Lebanon turns up the heat as falafels fly in food fight". The Age. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
- Kelley, Leigh (January 28, 2010). "Dining with a Middle Eastern flair". Times-News. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
- Allison, Jerry (January 6, 2009). "Fast food – Middle Eastern style". The News Journal. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Roden, Claudia (2000). The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Random House. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-375-40506-8.
- Roden, Claudia (1970). A Book of Middle Eastern Food. Penguin. 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.
- Davidson, Alan (1999). Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. 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.
- Abuqudairi, Areej (July 28, 2012). "Jordan earns Guinness record for world's largest falafel". The Jordan Times. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
- "Jordan sets the record for world's largest falafel". Al Arabiya. July 30, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
- Perry, Charles (May 2007). "Middle Eastern Influences on American Food". In Smith, Andrew F. (ed.). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-19-530796-2.
- 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.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
- 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. 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. Archived from the original on May 5, 2013. 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.
- 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".
- Marks, Gil (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish food. John Wiley & Sons. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-470-39130-3. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Basan, Ghillie (2007). Middle Eastern Kitchen. Hippocrene Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7818-1190-3.
- Winget, Mary; Chalbi, Habib (2003). Cooking the North African Way (2nd ed.). Twenty-First Century Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8225-4169-1. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- Claudia Roden, The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York , New York, Knopf, 1997, 688 p. ( ISBN 0-394-53258-9 ) , p. 273 .
- Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious. Michael Solomonov, Steven Cook. Page 23
- Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, Gil Marks, HMH, 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 (2nd 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.
- "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.|