This Middle Eastern dish has risen through the ranks of French favourites – and it's no wonder, seeing as it's crispy, flavourful and incredibly versatile. Pack it in a pitta, dip it in hummus or even use it to top off a salad. And there are all sorts of places serving up falafel, so now you can always recreate that street-food vibe at home.
You're spoilt for choice, with places like Le Roi Falafel rustling up falafel-packed pittas, and Le Monde Du Falafel and So Falafel ! offering up laden mezze platters to give you a taste of the Levant.
You'll find falafel in all its original glory across the food markets of the Middle East – these fried wonders are a testament to what good street food can be. Whether it's stuffed balls served in pittas, or patties placed in freshly made burger buns, falafel has made its way across the globe.
Chickpeas are behind the magic in this one. They're soaked overnight before being ground together with ingredients such as parsley and garlic. For seasoning, spices such as cumin and coriander are often added, and then the doughy mixture is shaped into balls, croquettes or patties before being fried to a crisp.
There are many stories surrounding falafel's origins – people are even split when it comes to the word itself. On the one hand, it's thought to come from the Arabic word falāfil, the plural of filfil, meaning 'pepper' – referring to the round, peppercorn shape and meaning 'little balls'.
Some guys argue that it has a Coptic Egyptian origin, as pha la phel means 'of many beans'. Whoever you choose to believe, the smooth, subtle flavours of falafel always win our heart. Add in a whole host of dips and spreads, and it's a certified crowd pleaser.
A mezze platter is a great place to start when it comes to falafel, and that's just what you'll get over at the aptly named So Falafel !. Here you'll find a plate packed with four falafel pieces, hummus and moutabal for dipping, as well as tabbouleh and two stuffed vines filled with fresh vegetables for a true Lebanese inspired feast.
They get in on the mezze fun over at Le Monde Du Falafel too – we love their Plate 4, where two freshly grilled kebabs accompany your falafel balls, along with Samboussek cheese and meats, hummus, moutabal, tabouleh and stuffed vine leaves.
And if you want to get your falafel fix at dinner time, Le Roi Falafel is the place for you. These guys – alongside their curated plates – pack falafel into a Lebanese pita bread for a meal that'll leave a smile on your face.
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