Discovering Vegetarian/Vegan Diets and Recipes

Egyptian Falafel with Tahini Sauce (Taameya)

The Arabic word taameya translates to “tasty little bits.” This version, made with fava beans, which are plentiful in the Nile delta, is thought by some to be the original falafel.

Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern “fast food” made of a mixture of chickpeas (or fava beans), fresh herbs, and spices that are formed into small patties or balls.  It’s thought that falafel originated in Egypt as Coptic Christians looked for a hearty replacement for meat during long seasons of fasting or lent.

It has also become a popular vegan food in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. Falafel continues to be the people’s daily grub in Egypt and you can find it from street vendors in almost every neighborhood. It’s often served in sandwich form with a generous drizzle of tahini and loads of Mediterranean salad, along with slices of roasted or fried eggplant.


Tahini Sauce


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare taameya: Drain fava beans. Combine cilantro, parsley, onion and garlic in a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides as necessary until very finely chopped, about 1 minute. Add the fava beans and continue processing until paste forms, about 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon coriander seeds and salt; process for 1 minute more.

  • Pound the remaining 6 tablespoons coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle until cracked. Stir in sesame seeds and transfer to a plate.

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap.

  • Meanwhile, using 2 tablespoons each, form the fava bean mixture into 24 disks 1 1/2 inches wide. Lightly press both sides of the disks in the seed mixture and place it on the prepared pan.

  • In batches, carefully drop the disks into the hot oil and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the taameya to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

  • To prepare sauce: Whisk tahini, water, vinegar, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Serve the taameya with the sauce.

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