For the Falafel Faithful
Discussing the origins of ancient foods that people still love to enjoy today always seems to end in side-taking and passionate assurances that the dish in question was undoubtedly conceived of in one or another’s native land. One of those foods is falafel – the delectable little gold fritters, made from soaked chickpeas, parsley, garlic, and spices. There are those who will say it’s Egyptian, others will say it’s Lebanese, and still others will swear it is Israeli. We can all at least agree that falafel is of Middle Eastern origins and is delicious.
One common theory says that falafel was invented by the Copts, an Egyptian Christian sect, who used it as a filling protein and meat replacement during times when they were required to abstain or fast such as during lent. Falafel also became a favorite of Muslims, especially during Ramadan when it is often eaten as an appetizer to break the daily fast. Some say that falafel started in Alexandria, and since Alexandria is a port, sailors from all over took the delicious patties or balls home, eventually causing falafel to become a popular “fast” food (pun intended) all over the Middle East.
Today, falafel is a popular food in Egypt and Sudan (where it is called Ta’amymah) and in Jordan, Syria, Greece, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (where it is called Bajia). The word falafel is thought to come from the plural form of filfil, meaning peppers in the Arabic language.
Falafel is legume based, so it provides all the benefits of beans:
- Very high in fiber — You get lots of fiber from the chickpeas, not to mention the delicious vegetables used to fill the falafel. It’s one of the highest-fiber meals around, making it very good for promoting healthy digestion.
- Loaded with proteins –– Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, as they are a legume and have a good deal of protein and minerals with hardly any fat.
Before you get worried about this being a fried delicacy, keep in mind that Paymon’s uses only zero trans-fat oils in our restaurants. And while fried foods are something that should be eaten in moderation, the benefits of chickpeas and the other healthy ingredients in falafel might offset any risks associated with the fried preparation method.
At Paymon’s you’ll find falafel as an appetizer, on our combination platter and in two of our fabulous pita bread sandwiches. Whether you’re vegan or vegetarian, abstaining from meat for religious or health reasons, or just to enjoy this delicious Middle Eastern treat, fulfill your cravings at Paymon’s Mediterranean Café and Hookah Lounge, now with 3 convenient locations!