Why is Falafel Green?
Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern food that has become a beloved snack in many parts of the world. This tasty treat is made by grinding up chickpeas, adding herbs and spices, and frying them into little balls or patties. One thing that sets falafel apart from other fried foods is its bright green color. But why is falafel green? Is it the chickpeas, the herbs, or something else entirely? In this article, we will explore the origins of falafel and the reasons why it is often green.
The Origins of Falafel
The history of falafel dates back thousands of years, and it has been a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries. Some sources trace the origins of falafel to ancient Egypt, where it was made using fava beans instead of chickpeas. Over time, the recipe for falafel spread throughout the Middle East and eventually made its way to other parts of the world.
The Ingredients in Falafel
The basic ingredients in falafel are chickpeas, herbs, and spices. The chickpeas are soaked overnight, then ground up with parsley, cilantro, mint, and other herbs. The mixture is then seasoned with spices like cumin, coriander, and garlic, and formed into small balls or patties. The falafel is then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown.
The Mystery of the Green Color
So why is falafel green? The answer lies in the herbs used in the recipe. Parsley, cilantro, and mint are all common ingredients in falafel, and they all have one thing in common: they are green. When the herbs are ground up with the chickpeas and spices, they give the mixture a bright green color that is both visually appealing and delicious.
The Health Benefits of Herbs in Falafel
In addition to adding flavor and color to falafel, the herbs used in the recipe also have many health benefits. Parsley is a good source of vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and bone health. Cilantro has been shown to have antimicrobial properties and may help with digestion. Mint is a natural appetite suppressant and can help with nausea and indigestion. So not only is falafel delicious, it’s also good for you!
Regional Variations in Falafel
While the basic recipe for falafel is the same throughout the Middle East, there are many regional variations in the way it is prepared and served. In Israel, for example, falafel is often served with hummus, tahini sauce, and Israeli salad. In Lebanon, it is served with pickled turnips, cucumber, and tomato. In Egypt, it is often eaten as a breakfast food with eggs and pita bread. Regardless of where you are, you are sure to find a delicious variation of falafel.
In some parts of Egypt, for example, falafel is made with split fava beans and is darker in color than the chickpea version found in other countries. In Syria and Lebanon, falafel can be made with a mix of chickpeas and fava beans, and the addition of cumin gives it a brownish color. In Israel, falafel is often made with only chickpeas and is brighter green in color due to the large amounts of parsley and cilantro used. So, the color of falafel can vary depending on the region and the recipe.