Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

by Kate Heyhoe


Egyptian Lunch: Felafel


Hi Kate,

My name is Sheila Ziegler. I have a degree in Hotel Tourism and Restaurant Management from RIT. I love to cook and do so all the time. It's a passion and a hobby for me. My son is in 3rd grade and studying Egypt. Every year when his class studies a new country, I go in and have the kids help me cook lunch. I am really stumped with what to serve. Hummas and pizza are all I can think of. I have 2-1/2 hours to make lunch and eat it. I have gotten some donations from local grocery stores so spices and unusual ingredients are not a problem. What I am really looking for is some suggestions to what a typical Egyptian lunch is like. My other dilemma, is to do a traditional lunch today or an ancient one. I hope you can help. This is not one of my areas of expertise. Thank you so much!! Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Cookingly yours,

Sheila Ziegler


Dear Sheila,

If you have a recipe for felafel (also sometimes spelled falafel in English) you're all set—if not, I've included one below. In Egypt it's called Ta'amia. Serve it with a Tarator Sauce of tahini and yogurt. Felafel is as much a modern day dish as it is an ancient one, although today's versions tend to use chickpeas instead of the traditional and more intensely flavored fava beans. Fava beans and chickpeas with tomatoes, parsley and green onions tossed in a lemon vinaigrette with a dash of cumin and garlic (of course) is called Salatet Fool. This would be a good lunch combo.

Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

Arab Cookbook



This recipe, from the exellent Arabian Delights Cookbook, uses an oven to bake the felafel, rather than the traditional method of frying in fat. Serve it as an appetizer, or for lunch, serve it in pita bread with a tomato relish or a sauce made of tahini, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice.

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
2 slices whole-wheat bread
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup minced parsley
black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper

1. In a food processor, process the chickpeas then add the bread, garlic, green onions, cilantro and parsley. Whirl until the ingredients are tinted green and the texture of ground walnuts.

2. Transfer the ground mixture to your working surface and sprinkle with the remaining dry ingredients. Knead well for 3-4 minutes and set aside for 1/2 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Knead again and shape into balls the size of small limes. Flatten slightly between your palms and bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake or brown. Serve with the relish and Tarator Sauce.


1 ripe tomato, minced
1/4 cup minced cucumber
1/4 cup minced green pepper
1/2 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
red pepper or Tabasco to taste
generous squeeze lemon juice

Combine all ingredints and serve

Tarator Sauce:

1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons low-fat yogurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed with:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

The Arabian Delights Cookbook
by Anne Marie Weiss-Armush
Lowell House (First printing, 1993)
Reprinted by permission.

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This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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