Egyptian Fava Bean Falafel Recipe – Ta’Meya

These traditional Egyptian fava bean falafel recipe (ta’meya) is seasoned with spring onion, garlic, parsley and cumin. They are one of the most popular street foods in Egypt, and for good reason.

Country Number 52: Egypt

We were very excited to reach Egypt on our around-the-world cooking challenge as we were aware that the cuisine is particularly vegetarian-friendly. After coming across so many countries where we struggled to find one good vegetarian option to cook, it was nice to be spoilt for choice for once. As part of our challenge, we’ve been asking our friends to choose a country they’d like to come around to dinner for. A few of our friends pick Egypt, so it was the perfect opportunity to do a full Egyptian spread and try our hand at making not just one, but multiple Egyptian dishes.

History of Egyptian Cuisine

Egypt’s culinary traditions stretch back more than 5,000 years. The cuisine was shaped by the ingredients and methods of those who passed through Egypt, including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ottomans, French and British. Although Egyptian cuisine appears similar to other countries from the Middle East, it uses its own distinct set of flavours and ingredients.

Thanks to the fertile land of Egypt’s Nile Valley and Delta, legumes, fruit and vegetable are abundant in Egyptian cuisine. In coastal regions, fish and seafood are common, and chicken, lamb and squab are consumed throughout the country. However, due to the historically high price of meat along with certain religious practices, a large amount of Egyptian cuisine is based around the vegetarian diet. Many fragrant spices are used to flavour dishes, including cumin, coriander, cardamom, chilli and cinnamon. Pita bread is a staple and is served with almost all meals, and is often used as a utensil to scoop up food. Cheese has also been a part of the Egyptian diet for a long time. In fact, two alabaster jars containing cheese were found that dated all the way back to the First Dynasty of Egypt!

Popular Egyptian Vegetarian Dishes

  • Kushari– An eclectic dish consisting of a mixture of rice, spaghetti, macaroni, vermicelli, fried onions, lentils and hummus topped with tomato and chilli sauce.
  • Ful Medames- A staple for Egyptians consisting of fava beans prepared with oil and lemon juice
  • Ta’meya-  Egyptian-style falafel, made of crushed fava beans mixed with herbs and spices which are fried in balls.
  • Besarah– A green creamy mash made of parsley, dill, leeks, fava beans and spices served with fried onions on top.
  • Eish Baladi- A hearty, thick pita bread that is the staple of most Egyptian meals

Vegetarian rating of Egyptian Cuisine:

Making this Egyptian Fava Bean Falafel Recipe

It would almost be rude for us to run a vegetarian blog and not have some kind of falafel recipe on here. Falafel always seems to be the vegetarian go-to, and for good reason. It’s a  protein-rich and flavourful alternative to meat that still tastes pretty hearty. In the past, we have made and eaten a lot of chickpea-based falafel. We were fascinated to learn that in Egypt, falafel is not made with chickpeas (like it is in most countries throughout the Middle East), but with fava beans instead. We were also fascinated to find out that falafel most likely originated from Egypt (even though many countries have tried to claim the dish), which infers that this recipe is the original way to make falafel!

As mentioned above, with Egyptian cuisine being so vegetarian-friendly, we couldn’t resist throwing a dinner party and making a full mezze spread. Below was our line-up of dishes (including links to the recipes we used in case you want to make your own Egyptian spread):

How to make this Egyptian Fava Bean Falafel Recipe

Falafel may seems a little intimating to make from scratch, but its actually pretty straightforward. If you are using dried fava beans, just make sure you have them soaking in water the night before. If you are using frozen beans, you can simply defrost them before you begin. 

  1. In a food processor, pulse broad beans until paste forms. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In a frying pan, toast cumin and fennel seeds until fragrant and grind using a spice grinder. Add to bowl of beans.
  3. In same pan, heat oil and sauté garlic and spring onion for 3 minutes. Add to bowl along with parsley, cumin, cayenne, salt and baking powder. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
  4. Shape bean mixture into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly with palms. Coat with flour and transfer to lined plate.
  5. Heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan to 185˚C (365˚F). Fry patties in batches for a few minutes each side, until golden. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

Ingredient notes for Egyptian Fava Bean Falafel (Ta’meya)

  • Fava beans- If you can find dried skinless fava beans (also called broad beans), these will work best for the recipe. Just cover them with water and soak them overnight before using. If you can’t find skinless beans, make sure you rub the skins off after soaking. We couldn’t find any dried fava beans so we used frozen instead.
  • Cumin/ fennel seeds- Toasting and grinding up cumin and fennel seeds will add a lovely deep flavour to your falafel.  However, you can skip these out and add an extra teaspoon of ground cumin instead if needed.
  • Flour– To make these gluten-free, you can skip coating them in flour or use a gluten-free flour blend, however they may not hold together quite so well when frying.

Serving suggestions this Egyptian Fava Bean Falafel Recipe

We recommend serving these either as part of a mezze spread or as a pita sandwich. We served ours with various dips, salad and pita bread (see above for the recipes we used).

Egyptian-Style Fava Bean Falafel (Ta'meya)

Egyptian-Style Fava Bean Falafel (Ta'meya)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

These traditional Egyptian style of falafel (ta'meya) are made of fava beans and are seasoned with spring onion, garlic, parsley and cumin. They are one of the most popular street foods in Egypt, and for good reason.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dried skinless fava beans, soaked overnight or 500g frozen fava beans, defrosted
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 spring onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne, optional
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup flour, for coating
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pulse broad beans until paste forms. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In a frying pan, toast cumin and fennel seeds until fragrant and grind using a spice grinder. Add to bowl of beans.
  3. In the same pan, heat oil and sauté garlic and spring onion for 3 minutes. Add to bowl along with parsley, cumin, cayenne, salt and baking powder. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
  4. Shape bean mixture into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly with palms. Coat with flour and transfer to lined plate.
  5. Heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan to 185˚C (365˚F). Fry patties in batches for a few minutes each side, until turning golden. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment & review above or share a photo on Instagram tagging @polkadotpassport so I can reshare your creations!

Other Middle Eastern mezze to try

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I am a travel + food blogger on a mission to discover the best destinations & dishes in the world. Thanks for joining the adventure!

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