Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about it!
1.The word Falāfil (Arabic: فلافل) is the plural of Filfil (فلفل), meaning “pepper”.
2. The word itself spread and is used in other languages such as Persian pilpil from the Sanskrit word pippalī (पिप्पली), meaning “long pepper”; or an earlier *filfal, from Aramaic pilpāl, “small round thing, peppercorn,” derived from palpēl, “to be round, roll”.
3. Thus in origin, falafel would be “rollers, little balls.”
4. A Coptic Egyptian origin has recently been proposed via the unattested phrase *pha la phel meaning “of many beans”.
5. The Arabic word falāfil has been globalized into many other languages and spread around the rest of the world as the general name for this food. In English, it is first attested in 1941.
6. The word falafel can refer to the fritters themselves or to sandwiches filled with them.
7. The origin of falafel is unknown and controversial. A common theory is that the dish originated in Egypt, possibly eaten by Copts as a replacement for meat during Lent.
8. 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.
9. It has been speculated that its history may go back to Pharaonic Egypt.
10. Falafel grew to become a common form of street food or fast food in Egypt and the Middle East.
11. 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.
12. Falafel became so popular that McDonald’s for a time served a “McFalafel” in its breakfast menu all over Egypt.
13. Debates over the origin of falafel have sometimes devolved into political discussions about the relationship between Arabs and Israelis.
14. In modern times, falafel has been considered a national dish of Egypt, Palestine, and of Israel.
15. Resentment exists amongst many Palestinians for what they see as the appropriation of their dish by Israelis.
16. Additionally, the Lebanese Industrialists’ Association has raised assertions of copyright infringement against Israel concerning falafel.
17. While falafel is not a Jewish dish, it was eaten by Mizrahi Jews in their countries of origin. Later, it was adopted by early Jewish immigrants to Palestine.
18. 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
19. In North America, prior to the 1970s, falafel was found only in Middle Eastern and Jewish neighborhoods and restaurants.
20. Today, the dish is a common and popular street food in many cities throughout North America
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. In the United States, falafel’s versatility has allowed for the reformulating of recipes for meatloaf, sloppy joes and spaghetti and meatballs into vegetarian dishe
24. Falafel is made from fava beans or chickpeas, or a combination of the two. The use of chickpeas is predominant in most Middle Eastern countries.
25. The dish is usually made with chickpeas in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. This version is the most popular in the West.
26. The Egyptian variety uses only fava beans.
27. When made with chickpeas, falafel is high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber.
28. Key nutrients are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B, and folate. Phytochemicals include beta-carotene.
29. Falafel is high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
30. 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.