Calling all fans of falafel! On the 12th June each year, it’s time to celebrate your favorite chickpea treat with International Falafel Day!
Deep-fried and composed of chickpeas or fava beans, this Middle Eastern food is often found wrapped up in a pita bread, or served with salad and sauces.
A favorite among meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, the latter of whom will often find it presented as an alternative to meat, falafel is one food that certainly deserves its own day of recognition.
The History of International Falafel Day
Exactly where falafel originated is up for debate. For the most part, many agree that it was first eaten widely in Egypt, when it may have been eaten as a replacement for meat during Lent.
It seems to have at first been made with fava beans, and then chickpeas once the dish migrated further north. The dish may even date far back to Pharaonic Egypt, although we aren’t quite sure yet.
In the Middle East and Egypt, falafel would become a popular form of street food. Often, it is eaten as part of a selection of other small portions of food known as a meze.
Nowadays, it’s so popular in Egypt that even McDonalds serve up their own version of the falafel, rather predictably named the ‘McFalafel’, as part of their breakfast menu.
After being mainly served up in Jewish restaurants and neighborhoods in North America, after 1970 it gained popularity as a street food and today is often offered as a meat-free option to vegetarians.
How to Celebrate International Falafel Day
Today is a great excuse to include falafel into your meals – wander by a street food market or into a Middle Eastern restaurant and try out the authentic falafel dishes!
If you want to make your own falafel, you’d be surprised at how simple it can be to rustle up your own tasty versions! The Egyptian version will only use fava beans, but in the West it’s more common to be made from chickpeas – but use whichever version you like. Perhaps even try both?
Chickpeas on their own might be a little boring, so most falafel creators will throw in some spices like coriander and cumin to make things interesting. If you wrap it up in a pita bread, be sure to include some fresh salad and sauces too. Traditionally, it’s served with tahini, but you can choose whatever sauce you fancy!
Be sure to share your falafel creations on social media!