One of the great things about modern cuisine is that we are able to taste a huge number of dishes from around the world, without restriction.
Even up until 100 years ago, people in the USA may not have been fortunate enough to be able to try international dishes – did you know that pizza only made it to the US in the 1920s?!
Falafel is one of many international dishes that have gained popularity outside its country of origin and street vendors make it available in many cities around the world. But what is a falafel and what does falafel taste like?
Let’s find out!
What The Heck Is A Falafel?
When you first hear the term falafel, it sounds more like a nonsense word than a type of food and it certainly gives nothing away as to what it might be.
Falafel is a dish that comes from the Middle East and consists of a blend of chickpeas and fava beans.
These are ground and blended together with fresh herbs, salt and black pepper usually in a food processor before being deep-fried. These then become golden brown balls of deliciousness.
Typically falafel is served in a pita pocket or as a sandwich and while the chickpea blend is normally fried, it can be cooked in the oven if you want to watch your fat intake.
Can you eat chickpeas raw?
Chickpeas are used in many dishes but there has always been a level of concern over whether they are edible when raw.
In truth, eating raw chickpeas is not a great idea. They may look small and inoffensive but they can be very difficult to digest.
Before you cook then, however, they do need to be soaked in water. The best way to do this is to soak them overnight but if you don’t have the time to do this then it is possible to do a quick soak for an hour.
To do this, you will need to boil them in water for five minutes and then allow them to soak.
After they have finished soaking, you will need to cook them for around thirty minutes, so it is a lengthy process even with the ‘quick’ method but your digestive system will thank you.
What Does A Falafel Ball Taste Like?
If you are presented with falafel balls, they might look a little odd, especially if this is your first time seeing them. But they are actually very tasty and have a grainy texture.
A falafel ball is often described as being like a vegetarian meatball. The texture, when cooked correctly will be light and fluffy on the inside with a crisp outer part.
While falafel is made from chickpeas and fava beans, both of these things do not have a very distinct taste. For this reason, most falafel recipes include things to boost the flavor.
Each person will add different ingredients, but some of the most common are garlic, lemon juice, herbs, cumin, and onions. The great thing about falafel is that you can adjust the taste to your personal preference.
Does falafel taste like meat?
Falafel is a vegetarian dish and has no resemblance to the taste of meat; unless you decide to add meat into the mix, of course.
Are all falafels vegan?
Traditionally, falafel is a vegan dish and is made only from plant-based products.
However, as we have mentioned, people can add anything they please into the mix so it is always worth checking before you eat.
What’s more, a lot of falafel burgers and sandwiches are served with a variety of sauces and not all of these will be suitable for vegans.
If you are ordering a falafel in a restaurant or from a street vendor, you can ask whether the sauces contain animal products, such as yogurt, and request that they are left off your food.
What does tahini taste like?
Tahini looks very similar to peanut butter and is commonly served with falafel. However, unlike the nutty taste of peanut butter, tahini can be a little more bitter and has a very distinct taste.
There is a very earthy quality to tahini which perfectly compliments the spices and herbs used in falafel.
What does hummus taste like?
Another common sauce that you might eat with falafel and this is something else that is made with chickpeas so it complements the dish extremely well.
Hummus also contains tahini, garlic, and olive oil. The garlic comes through clearly in the taste and hummus is typically a very rich and creamy food.
It cannot be compared to anything else as it has a truly unique taste.
The consistency is similar to mayonnaise although there are some types of hummus that are a lot more texture, especially if they are homemade.
What Does Falafel Smell Like?
One of the main problems with falafel is that it may not smell very appealing. Some people have compared the aroma to body odor and this is likely down to the spices that are used in some recipes.
Typically cumin has a very strong smell that resembles sweaty armpits; there is no nicer way to put it but that doesn’t mean that the taste is bad.
In fact, some people find that this smoky and spicy smell is very appealing.
But much like the taste of falafel, its aroma will strongly depend on what ingredients have been used in the recipe.
What Goes With Falafel Balls?
Falafel, as we have found out, is often served in a pita and can be served with salad and sauces, or on its own.
Most commonly, falafel is served with hummus on what is known as a falafel plate. This dish is very popular in countries like Egypt and Bahrain.
Over in Israel, falafel is the national dish and it is served in many ways. Sometimes, you may eat it with eggplant or sauerkraut.
A falafel sandwich is a sandwich that consists of a deep-fried patty made from chickpeas, herbs, and spices. The patty is typically placed inside a pita bread pocket with lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The sandwich can also be topped with a variety of sauces, including tahini, hummus, and hot sauce.
Falafel is a type of food that is popular across many Middle Eastern countries and it is often sold as street food in other parts of the world.
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. The mixture is seasoned with herbs and spices, then deep-fried. Falafel is a popular dish in the Middle East and North Africa.
Falafel has a texture that is slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The flavor is earthy and slightly spicy.