Falafels are delicious vegetarian fried balls made with legumes - usually fava beans or chickpeas – and flavoured with garlic, onions and various spices such as cumin and coriander. It appears that they originally came from Egypt but today are very popular throughout the Middle East, especially in Israel, Syria and Jordan. The original recipe, one that has been handed down through the generations, is made with fava beans and requires that the falafel are served still hot, accompanied by a sesame seed sauce. Completing a typical Middle Eastern lunch would be Arabic bread and fresh salad vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumber. Often the bread is cut with a kind of pocket and filled with the falafel and vegetables. It is a lovely vegetarian alternative to the equally well-known meat kebab. It may make Italians smile, but in some Italian pizzerias run by Turks or Egyptians you can even find pizza topped with falafel: an unprecedented cultural and gastronomic combination!
Soak the beans for 24 hours changing the water several times. After the 24 hours is up, drain the chickpeas and place on a tea towel. Crush the chickpeas well against each other within the tea towel so that the majority shed their skins. Peel those that remain and discard all the skins. Now, roughly chop the onion, garlic and parsley and mix them in a bowl along with the chickpeas. Add the salt and spices. With an electric hand blender blitz everything well, then taste for salt. Heat a litre of cooking oil in a saucepan. Now, using two tablespoons, form the mixture into little balls and fry for 3-4 minutes. Serve accompanied with tzatziki sauce and guacamole. Enjoy your falafel!