Falafels from the Pharaohs.

A dish made for the Pharaohs as chickpeas and broad beans were grown on the fertile Nile delta - and the dried pulses could be used during winter when other food was scarce.    Christian Copts in Egypt eat falafels during Lent when they don’t eat meat for 6 weeks – the pulses provide their protein.

Download This Recipe as a PDF
Play Video


8oz/225 g chickpeas tinned or 4oz/110g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and then simmered for 20 minutes in fresh water.

8oz/225 g  broad beans, cooked and shelled

1  egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon  salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon turmeric, ground

½ teaspoon coriander, ground

1 tablespoon falafel spices

½ teaspoon paprika

1  clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon tahini paste

2oz/50 g fresh breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Plain flour to roll them

Oil to fry.

Tahini sauce/dip.

4oz/100g  plain Greek yoghurt

2 tablespoons tahini paste

1  clove garlic, crushed

½  lemon, juice only

Salt and pepper.

1 teaspoon sumac, dried.


Finely sliced lettuce, cucumber, radish and tomatoes.

Arab or pita bread.


Process chickpeas and broad beans to form a stiff mix that retains some texture.

Add other ingredients and stir through (rather than processing in order to retain texture).

Need firm soft mixture that will hold its shape.

Make balls about the size of a large walnut and flatten.

Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat a very little oil in a non-stick pan (to avoid the falafel absorbing too much oil).

Fry until golden: about 3-5 minutes on each side but take care as they can burn quite easily.  Alternatively, spray with oil and oven bake at Gas 7/425f/220c for about 15 minutes and then turn and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Stir the sauce ingredients together to make a thick sauce, finishing with the sumac sprinkled over the top.

Slice salad ingredients and mix.

Heat the bread in the oven until just soft.

If using the Arab bread, place some sauce in the middle of the bread, top with some salad and a couple of the falafels.  Fold the bottom of the bread over the filling and then one side of the bread over the filling before rolling firmly to produce a small pocket.

My Tips:

Falafel spice is a combination of coriander, all spice, cumin, caraway, crushed red chilli and cloves so it can be made at home with a spice grinder.

If using dried chick peas, use half the weight and soak overnight before simmering in fresh water for about 20 minutes.

Frozen broad beans can be used – just par-cook in accordance with the instructions before cooling quickly in cold water and then shelling.

Can use different flavours in falafels e.g. add spinach, replace chick peas with sweet potatoes.

Sumac adds more citrus flavour to the sauce without making it runnier.

Once cooked, falafels can be re-heated later or frozen.  Allow to defrost and then place on oiled baking tray and re-heat in a hot oven for 5 minutes each side.

Arab bread uses Lebanese flour and is more like a pancake than pitta and can be frozen soon after buying.  One source is: www.hollylandbakery.com Phone: 0208 8087111.


Please Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
© 2023 - Penny Melville-Brown
Resize Font