Falafel is a popular fried legume ball all over the Middle East, but many believe that it originated in Egypt. This is largely due to the Coptic Christian population in Egypt that has always done fasts from animal products for most of the year, including Lent, Advent, and many commemorations of saints throughout the year. Many believe that this is why Egypt’s cuisine is generous in vegan foods. Falafel, or as it’s known in Egypt, ta’ameya (although many Egyptians also use the name falafel and you won’t be misunderstood if you do too), is one of the many tasty vegan dishes in Egyptian cuisine.
The real difference between ta’ameya and falafel is that falafel in the Levant is made with chickpeas, while in Egypt, ta’ameya is made with fava beans. Like ful, ta’ameya is another fava bean dish that’s eaten at breakfast., and people will invite friends and neighbors over for a breakfast of “ful we (and) ta’ameya.” Ta’ameya is fried until crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It’s usually bright green on the inside as the ta’ameya mixture is mixed with a large amount of fresh herbs, including dill, parsley, and coriander. It’s often eaten in a sandwich form inside some aish baladi with tahini generously drizzled over and topped with a combination of salad and pickles. A ta’ameya sandwich makes for a flavor-packed, textural meal that’s as easy on the pocket as it is on the tastebuds.