You say falafel, I say Ta’meya, we all say delicious! Well, at least I hope we all say delicious :D!
Although a few of you out there may have tried falafel (it is, after all, increasing in popularity in Canada), I doubt very many have tried the Egyptian version. You see, while the rest of the Arab world generally makes falalfel with chickpeas, Egyptians use fava beans to make the mixture. Oh, and we tend to call the delicious fried nuggets of goodness Ta’meya. Which is better? Well, my very biased opinion says that fava beans are the way to go! I find fava bean based ta’meya to be lighter and fluffier than their chickpea based cousin. Also, fava bean ta’meya tend to be a vibrant green on the inside and that just makes me feel better about eating a fried food item :D. Green is good, right??
Ta’meya is one of the many popular street-foods in Egypt. Wake up any morning and grab yourself a ta’meya sandwich with Tahini and vegge (tomatoes, parsley, pickles, parsley) and you’ve got yourself an excellent start to your day. Personally, I’m a little lazy and have my sandwiches delivered for about 25 cents extra; sweet, sweet, cheap delivery – how I miss thee!
Here in Canada, my mom makes huge batches of the ta’meya mixture and then stores them in ziplock bags in the freezer. Whenever we want ta’meya, she’ll take a bag out to defrost overnight and then fry it up in the morning. Those are the days she finds us suddenly setting the table, helping out in the kitchen, heating up the pita…you know, speeding up the process so we can get to the eating part, hahaha!
So, without further ado, here’s the recipe for you to try out for yourself:
Makes about 30 ta’meyas
- 2 cups dried split fava beans
- 1 bunch leeks (washed well)
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- 1/2 bunch corriander
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
Soak the beans in water overnight in a large bowl. In the morning, drain off the excess water and then pulse in a food processor with all ingredients, save for the baking powder and sesame seeds, until smooth.
Only add the baking powder when you are going to fry the ta’meya. If you’re going to freeze the mixture, add baking powder once it has defrosted.
Heat the oil for frying and make little patties out of the mixture (sometimes it helps to lightly oil your hands so that the mixture doesn’t stick). Dip one side into the sesame seeds and then fry until it is a golden-brown colour.
Enjoy with some pita and your choice of sanwhich stuffing. Personally, I go with tomatoe slices and some feta cheese- yum!
Note: Dried fava beans have yet to hit the mainstream, so you’re best bet for finding them is at your friendly neighborhood Middle-Eastern grocery store.
Did You Know: Ta’meya is considered the national dish of Egypt (along with koshari, but that’s for another post). While many nations try to lay claim for this dish, most food historians theorize that it’s origins are indeed in Egypt, where Coptic Christians consumed it as a vegetarian meal during lent. When ta’meya travelled to other countries via the ports in Alexandria, chickpeas were substituted for the fava beans. Interesting! Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falafel