Falafel: How To Make Middle Eastern Falafel

Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Varieties of herbs, spices, and onions are often added to the flour. It is a well-known dish from the Middle East, which most likely originated in Egypt.

As part of vegetarian cuisine, and as a form of street food, falafel is now found worldwide. Falafel balls are commonly served in a pita, that acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread, which is also known as a taboon in western Arab countries.

Falafel is also often referred to as a wrapped sandwich filled with falafel balls, salad, pickled vegetables, and drizzled with hot sauce or a tahini sauce.

Middle Eastern Falafel

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Snacks
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

The whole preparation and cooking time is 2 and a half hours. This recipe is suitable for at least six servings. 

Photo credit: @colourfulkitchen_ / Instagram.com.

Middle Eastern Falafel Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • Soybean or vegetable oil for frying


  • Chopped tomato for garnish
  • Diced onion for garnish
  • Diced green bell pepper for garnish
  • Tahini sauce
  • Pita bread

Middle Eastern Falafel Instructions

Step 1: Place the chickpeas in a bowl and add ample cold water to cover them by 2 inches or more. Let them soak overnight and drain. Or use drained canned chickpeas.

Step 2: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, cumin, and garlic. Process until mixed, but not pureed. Once the mixture reaches the desired consistency, pour it out into a bowl and stir with a fork; this will make the texture even. Remove any big chickpea chunks missed by the processor.

Step 3: Sprinkle the mixture with the baking powder and flour and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that you can form a small ball with the dough and it does not stick to your hands anymore.

Step 4:  Put the mixture into a sealed container and refrigerate for several hours. Or use a falafel scoop to mold the chickpea mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter.

Step 5: In a deep pot or wok heat 3 inches of oil to 375 F, and fry a ball to test the consistency. Just add a little flour if it falls apart. Then fry on each side for a few minutes or until golden brown. You can fry about 6 balls at once.

Step 6: Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with balls of falafel, chopped tomatoes, and green pepper. Drizzle with water-thinned tahini.

Middle Eastern Falafel Additional Information

  • Three falafel balls contain 220 calories, 590mg of sodium, 39g of carbohydrates, 12g of protein.
  • This recipe will take 2 and a half minutes to prepare.
  • This recipe will make enough falafel for six servings.
  • In much of the Middle East, particularly in the Levant and Egypt, falafel developed into a common form of street food or fast-food. As part of a meze, the croquettes are eaten daily.

Image source: finedininglovers.com

About Middle Eastern Falafel Recipe

Falafel has also reached the Palestinian Jewish communities. However, their relation to falafel is more complicated. It was readily accepted by the first settlers alongside the indigenous population. They have grown used to cultural exchange with their Muslim neighbors for a long time, and have given no thought to whether or not it was an ‘Arab’ food. They just incorporated it into their own kitchen, since they had many other foods. The ingredients could either be purchased cheaply or cultivated without difficulty, and they were also convenient to eat.


As an alternative to meat-based street food, falafel has become popular among vegetarians and vegans and is now sold in many health food stores. For more international snack recipes, click here.

Featured Image: @anita.healthy / Instagram.com, @mandaloun_rome / Instagram.com