Why Am I Thinking About Cairo and Falafel Today


August 16, 2015 by Joanne T Ferguson

Airfryer-falafel-whatsonthelist-healthyWhy Am I Thinking About Cairo and Falafel Today?

I am and I must say, I have always been fascinated by all things Egyptian since I was little and now have an affinity with the country, culture and especially the people having spent some time throughout Egypt!

I have VERY, VERY, VERY special and fond memories of our time in Egypt starting with the view from our hotel and the first time I saw the Pyramids.

Actually, the first time I saw them, we had a private guide who was driving on a very busy freeway!

I S-Q-U-E-A-L-E-D and he put his foot on the brakes thinking something was wrong!

When he asked, “What?”, I pointed to the Pyramids and he said, “Oh, I get to see them everyday” and kept driving!

I always thought may I never get THAT complacent that I could not appreciate the natural beauty around me everyday and after all, IT WAS THE PYRAMIDS!!!!!


First of all, I’d like to thank Fiona from Tiffin – bite sized adventures for inviting me to her A – Z Guidebook, a new travel series which is “interesting, different and exciting!”

Fiona shares:
“Bloggers from around the world can share a picture and story about a place that relates to each letter in the alphabet. It could be a city, a country, a street or an icon. It could be anywhere. If you would like to join, read the A-Z Guidebook tab at the top of the blog and write a travel post relating to the letter of the month.”

A-Z-Guidebook-Badge                           Image Courtesy of Tiffin – bite sized adventures

I am VERY EXCITED to share that C stands for Cairo, where our WONDERFUL Middle East adventures began and ended with a felafel!

I loved the history, the architecture, I became fluent in hieroglyphics, mastered the locals customs (some of which were initially challenging as a foreigner and tourist), I loved the bazaars where the locals shopped, I loved the spice markets, the Mosques where the locals prayed, I loved the Call to Prayer.

If you have never heard it, it is quite remarkable and takes some time to get used to, but after your leave the country, your mind still hears this; remarkable indeed!

Joanne-in-Egypt Joanne-EgyptMosque.Joanne-Egypt
There was one thing consistent throughout my entire experience in Egypt and it was my smile; I could NOT stop smiling and “each and every” minute not only was memorable, but was an adrenaline rush (in a good way) of all things new!

Despite being quite familiar with Egypt, Egyptian culture and customs, I realized upon my arrival, I had so much to learn.

One thing I have learned from my vast travels around the world is all countries, cultures are just “as curious” about another person’s country, cultures, customs and foods!

Oh, did I mention, I LOVE and LOVED Egyptian food and I was there to try it all!

FANG did not put on weight with all of the walking, climbing, and simply having the time of my life!

My name is Joanne aka Joanne aka mickeydownunder aka FANG and I have a confession, I am also “affectionately known” as The Queen of The Nile; a title that is honorary!


For those who may be unfamiliar what a falafel is, it is traditionally a deep fried patty or meatball made from fava beans, chickpeas, or a combination of both.

Falafel aka Ta’meya is traditionally a Middle Eastern dish whose origins are unknown.

It has been suggested falafel originated in Egypt by the Copts aka The Christian community, who substituted falafel for meat during Lent; the Christian preparation before Easter.

Felafel is unofficially the national dish of Egypt.

I decided to use chickpeas for the falafels today.

The chickpeas are soaked overnight and did you know they are not cooked before using, as if you cooked the chickpeas, they would fall apart?

Please note, if you do try to make your own falafel at home, fava beans need to be cooked for medical reasons.

While I always hand roll falafels, one can also use a falafel mould aka aleb falafel; CLICK HERE should you wish to view one!

In case you too are wondering, the Guinness World Record for the largest falafel is 74.75kg (165.8 pounds)!

The giant dish was created by a team of ten chefs at the Landmark Hotel in Amman, Jordan and contained 80kg (176.4 pounds) of chickpeas, 5kg (11 pounds) of onions and 2kg (4.4 pounds) fresh parsley and coriander, the record breaking falafel was deep fried in 350 litres (92.5 gallons) of vegetable oil.

I experienced many wonderful homemade falafels throughout our stay in the Middle East!

I am always inspired by what I read and see and today decided to slightly adapt Arabianmama’s falafel recipe.

I would love for you to hop over to Amrita’s wonderful blog and say G’day!

Joanna's Egypt Memory of Falafel Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Are you looking for a healthy, delicious recipe that brings back heaps of wonderful memories from our time in the Middle East?
Recipe type: Lunch
Serves: 16 - 20 balls
  • 2 cups dry chickpeas
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 8 large garlic
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • Pink Himalayan salt to taste
  • grapeseed oil to coat (optional)
  • 1 egg
  1. In a large bowl, soak chickpeas over night and drain.
  2. In a food processor, add onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, baking sode, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt and chickpeas.
  3. Process several times until desired consistency.
  4. Add egg and process until well combined.
  5. With your hands, mould into desired patty or meatball shapes.
  6. See Notes: as recipe can be made the traditional way of deep frying or in an air fryer.
  7. Pre heat air fryer for 5 minutes.
  8. Brush falafel balls lightly in grapeseed oil with a pastry brush.
  9. Cook 10 minutes one side; turn and cook additional 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from air fryer and serve with sauce and accompaniments of choice. See Notes.
Original source Arabianmama's Syrian Falafel
Recipe was made in the Rank Arena Air Fryer, but can be deep fried.
I served falafel balls with a mixture of 2:1 tahini and quark, adding 2 teaspoons of lemon; cucumber, tomato and lemon optional.

Are you a fan of falafel?

Have you ever made falafel at home?

Can you FEEL the love I have for Cairo and felafel today?

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172 thoughts on “Why Am I Thinking About Cairo and Falafel Today

  1. When my son was little he wanted to be an Egyptologist AND a marine biologist. We even took him to south Florida to see the King Tut exhibit. It was a wonderful site and I was glad that I was able to see it in my lifetime. I can’t imagine being complacent about seeing the pyramids. But don’t you think that we get complacent about lots of things other love? I feel that way about Disney World. Thanks for sharing your post at the #AnythingGoes Link Party.

  2. Cairo should be a very interesting place to visit, and yes, who wouldn’t squeal at the sight of the Pyramids, right? i love all your photos. i have not tried falafel but it sure looks like a very curious dish to try.

  3. I would love to visit Egypt someday, sounds like you had a wonderful trip, I love the photo of the buildings with the pyramids in the background. I am also a huge falafel fan, but have never made it at home, your version sounds wonderful, I had no idea that you don’t cook the chickpeas, but guess it makes sense! Thanks so much for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend?!

  4. It is so strange to see those modern buildings with the ancient pyramids in the background!

  5. My son adores falafel and your recipe sounds delicious, Joanne! I’d be squealing if I saw the pyramids as well 🙂 Love the photo of you – you look wonderful as The Queen of the Nile!

  6. looks like you had a simply marvellous time joanne. yes i think i would squeal too about seeing the pyramids.

  7. OMG I am so jealous right now. I have heard nothing but great things about egypt and this just puts the icing on the cake. Also the recipe looks amazing! Never heard of it before but will def have to try it out some time! (btw quick question.. what did you use to post your recipe the way you did? I have been trying to figure that out for such a long time now! TIA!)

  8. I so love your blog with these dishes I have never heard of but can’t even pronounce. 😛 This one sounds like something I indeed am going to try. It looks so delicious and I love anything fried. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hmmm.. something new to me. I guess Falafel is very interesting food to eat especially that it is an Egyptian delicacy. I like your travel as much as I like this food.

  10. Kiwi says:

    OMG this is on my bucketlist to go to Egypt! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  11. We had a great time when we visited Egypt. Unfortunately, not long after we left the uprising occurred. Thanks for linking up with us at #anythinggoes and sharing your great pics and recipes. I like you as ‘Queen of the Nile’

  12. I just tried my first Falafel a few weeks ago and loved it! I’ll have to try out this recipe for my husband and see what he thinks. Thank you for sharing Queen of the Nile! 😉

  13. Hmm I have never heard of Falafel before, but it looks yummy! I would love to visit Egypt one day, its always been a bucket list place of mine. Looks like you had a fabulous time :]

  14. I haven’t had a good falafel in quite some time. I think I might have to give this one a try soon.

  15. Jillian {Food Folks and Fun} says:

    Falafel is one of my favorites, yum!

  16. This looks like a recipe my kids will love. I will have to get the ingredients and try it this week.

  17. Ickle Pickle says:

    I would love to go to Egypt – my parents have been though. This recipe looks great, thank you for sharing. Kaz

  18. I am envious of your Egyptian Holiday. I love the history of the place, it and Pompeii are what led me to study history and become a history teacher.

  19. lisa says:

    I love the pictures! Egypt looks amazing. I love falafel and would love to make my own.

  20. yumeating says:

    What a great blog post and I loved all your photos. I love hearing about other folks adventures. I am a big fan of cuisines from around the world and happy to see you Falafel recipe. I am going to have to give it a try.

  21. Ricci says:

    Egypt is definitely on my travel bucket list. I can’t wait to go and really dive into the culture!

  22. Wow this is a brand new recipe for me! As a teen, I made plans to make it to Egypt as a tourist…for some reason life changed and I never got to go. Thank you for sharing these photos to I could go virtually 😀

  23. Lynndee says:

    Glad to meet you, Queen of the Nile. 🙂 I would love to visit Egypt and see the pyramids. Someday, I hope. That Falafel looks interesting. I am wondering now how it tastes like.

  24. I have always wanted to see the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. They are definitely on my bucket list. I think Cairo would be an awesome place to visit, even without the Pyramids!

  25. Rosey says:

    Ah you’re so lucky that you got to see the pyramids. I’d have been excited too. And hear hear for not being too complacent, ever. I wish the same for me. 🙂

  26. I’ve wanted to travel to Egypt and visit there ever since I was a child! It looks like you had an amazing visit! Here in Toronto there are a lot of falafel shops and I absolutely love having them whenever I get the chance!

  27. Erin says:

    My mom loves Egyptian food! I’ll have to share this recipe with her, she’ll be just thrilled!

  28. I’ve actually never tried falafel so I’ll add that to my list of culinary adventures I need to experience!

  29. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe. I love that you share foods from around the world that I haven never heard of before. Would love to see those pyramids too. =)

  30. Definitely a place I want to visit someday!

  31. This is something I would love to try, ut looks and sounds delicious! I am learning so many unique recipes from all around the world through your blog.

  32. Meagan says:

    These are such cool pictures! I’ve always wanted to go to Cairo. I hope I can make it there soon someday. I’d love to also try their food. Falafel is delicious! I can’t wait to try it out for myself at home. Looks amazing!

  33. michele d says:

    I am not sure if that recipe is my cup of tea. I would definitely try it but not sure it would be on my list for must haves.

  34. Stephanie says:

    Falafel is one of those things that I’ve never tried but am afraid to buy at a restaurant in case I don’t like it. Thanks for the recipe. Now I can make it at home!

  35. My husband used to eat falafel all the time when we lived in the city, and now I can see why! What a great recipe!

  36. Never been to Egypt but is one my bucket list, the first time I had falafel was with boo a few years back at an egyptian restaurant and we loved it

  37. Must try recipe. But hopefully, I can try something that is made and cooked by local of Egypt. Thanks for sharing this.

  38. upliftingfam says:

    That would be do cool to tour the pyramids. I haven’t been to Egypt but visiting the pyramids would be an exciting trip. Maybe one day.

  39. I would love to travel to Egypt, the country has such amazing history! I have never heard of falafel sounds delicious!

  40. I’ve never actually had falafel before! I’d love to try it!

  41. Egypt is on my dream list of countries to travel to!! I love the history of the country and the food there looks amazing as well! Your recipe sounds amazing, I don’t think I have ever tried a dish like it before!

  42. Egypt is definitley on my bucket list. I’m with you, I never want to pass by something so majestic as the pyramids and not stop and take it in, The history of them alone is enough to live in awe each and every day.

  43. Emily says:

    My husband went to Egypt shortly before we were married– he said it was the most different culture that he had been to (and he is very well travelled!) However, he also said that the culture and sites were wonderful!

    The dish looks mighty tasty!

  44. Your pyramid story reminds me of a story I heard about Moose and Alaskans. How it was absolutely no big deal to see one there and I’ve been thrilled the few times I’ve seen them!

  45. This sounds yummy. Egypt wow id love to visit one day.

  46. Ahhhh so jealous that you got to visit Egypt!!!! That’s my dream destination!!!! I have had falafel before and it is pretty yummy!

  47. I’ve never had falafel before but now I’m wanting to try it out!

  48. Nicky says:

    You have been all over the world Joanne. My husband has been to Egypt and brought back pictures. I would lov eto see them. My family enjoys falafel, but I rarely fry anything, so we often eat it out. I would like to try this, so I pinned it for later.

  49. sacki20 says:

    Oh my gosh. It has always been a dream to go to Egypt and see the Pyramids. The picture you posted with them in them is just breathtaking, i would have yelped even screamed when i seen them, The best part about traveling its trying Authentic cuisine in that area. Now i have had a few falafels but i bet they dont compair to being Authentic. What a great memory to look back on. Thank you for the recipie. will add it into rotaion

  50. Briton says:

    I have never had falafel but now I hope to try it soon! It looks and sounds so yummy!

  51. Emily says:

    I’ve never tried falafel before but it’s been on my to-try list for quite a while. It seems like such a neat food.

  52. lydiaf1963 says:

    We love falafel, but I haven’t made them with fava beans yet. One of these days 🙂

  53. That is so awesome that you got to see the pyramids. I actually had no idea there was so much “city” around them so that’s neat to see. I’ve never tried falafel before.

  54. Emilee says:

    I love Falafel! I don’t make it very often, but it’s one of my favorite foods. I love the spices and the texture.

  55. Jacob Fu says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of falafel but the wife definitely likes it. Might have to surprise her with making it 🙂

  56. Winnie says:

    I’ve never been to Egypt (although we share a border), but falafel is super popular here. It’s a street-food, and it’s kinda hard to find anyone who doesn’t like it 🙂
    We usually eat it in a Pita-bread with lots of humus and tehini

  57. What an amazing opportunity. The visuals, the cultural experiences OMG this is amazing. I’ve never heard of falafel but it sounds interesting.

  58. I have never tried a falafel before! The sad thing is I LOVE BEANS and CHICKPEAS! I’ll have to give your recipe a try! PS. I would squeal if i got to see pyramids for real too!

  59. creativesouthernhome says:

    Thanks for all the info. I learned something today!

  60. Never tried it and wasn’t sure what it was until now. I really need to explore more with food, I feel like I’m missing out on loads.

  61. Heather says:

    Wow you do love Egypt! Funny about seeing the pyramids. I’m sure I’d squeal too seeing them as an adult. Falafel sounds tasty!

  62. Alli says:

    I am such a falafel fan and I can’t stop staring at your photo! I have to admit that I always eat falafels when dining out. But I would love to try your recipe.

  63. Hi Joanne, you were absolutely beaming! I’d be smiling ear to ear as well, as I’ve always wanted to visit Egypt. I completely agree with you about never becoming complacent with the beauty surrounding us everyday. After all if you can’t find beauty where you live, you won’t find it anywhere! As for falafel, love them! I was lucky enough to get my recipe from a lovely Lebanese Lady, who owns a restaurant near us. That may just be dinner tonight! 🙂

  64. Sandy KS says:

    I have never left the USA. I would love to travel the world one day. I enjoy reading your blog, as I learn of new foods , I have never heard of. Plus, of places I wish to visit some day.

  65. Melanie says:

    I have never had this before. You make it look so delicious, though!

  66. I can’t even imagine visiting Egypt. Everywhere you go and look is just filled with ancient history. Like the ancient of the ancient. And all of the pyramids and other monuments that were made so long ago are amazing. I love your recipe, too. It’s so nice to have a food that brings back fond memories.

  67. Ya know, I have actually never had falafel. This looks so good, I will definitely have to try it.

  68. Your memories of Egypt are lovely! It is great to have foods and recipes that can carry you back to those memories. I could never imagine being so unphased by the Pyramids as your driver was. But then, I guess when you live there and see it every day it isn’t quiet as special to you as someone who has never seen it. Same goes for the beach!

  69. Alyssa C says:

    Great photos. Egypt is on my bucket list! Thank you for sharing.

  70. Diana Rambles says:

    I have never been to Egypt, but it looks like a really interesting place to visit!

  71. Jeanette says:

    I have never tried Falafel. It sounds delightful though. You look like you had an awesome time in Egypt I am jealous you got to see the Pyramids, I have always wanted to see them.

  72. Amanda says:

    I’m typically not a fan of falafel but you make it look absolutely delicious! Love the bright colors and textures of the other things you decided to feature along with the main star of the dish.

  73. I have never been to Egypt looks fabulous. I had a former co worker I worked with that was from Egypt and she used to talk and show me pictures all the time. The pyramids really are amazing. Would love to see them in person one day.

  74. Hi Joanne! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I have never tried falafel yet and I see that it is meatless. This could be a good side dish or appetizer too! I am sure it tastes great.

  75. ascendingbutterfly says:

    I have never been to Egypt, it is on my travel bucket list! But your experience getting near the pyramids mirrors my own when I hire drivers when I’m abroad, they all say the same thing, “I see this everday”. I guess as a born and raised New Yorker I understand it now and can sometimes be guilty of it myself, when friends come in from out of town the things they want to see are what I avoid as a local because of the crowds and sometimes take for granted too! I am going to share your Egypt Memory of Falafel Recipe with my mom as she loves anything chickpeas.

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

  76. Egypt looks like such an interesting place to visit! I can’t imagine ever not being amazed by seeing the pyramids.

  77. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    The first time I ever tried falafel was from one of those street carts in NYC and I was amazed at how good it was. I have never made my own, but I would love to one of these days.

  78. Jaime N. says:

    I would LOVE to visit Egypt some day – I love you can see the pyramids in your city pics! Falafel looks yummy too!

  79. I love your photos! I have always wanted to visit Egypt and for sure, I will be as thrilled when I see the Pyramids. The Falafel looks so tasty. I have never tried it, but after seeing your photo, I feel the urge to rush to the nearest Egyptian restaurant and try a Falafel.

  80. I love your Queen of the Nile photo! I’ve never had a Falafel, but this looks delicious and I want to try it.

  81. Yes, I know what you mean about the traffic and driving in Cairo! Love the photo of the Pyramids behind the modern building. To this day, the best felafel I ever had was in Egypt (though not Cairo). At a breakfast buffet in a cheap hotel in Aswan – so, so hot there but fresh, crisp felafel for breakfast improved things a good deal! Thanks for joining in again.

  82. Oh I would love to go to Egypt! I cannot imagine the Cairo locals growing complacent in the shadow of one of the wonders of the world but I guess they do! That falafal sounds pretty darn good, making me hungry!

  83. I have never had falafel before. It looks very tasty. I will have to try it soon. My husband and I like to try new foods. It looks very interesting. This is a great post too. Cairo looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  84. LOL! Joanne, you made me laugh. I certainly could feel your excitement when you talk about Egypt. I am happy you had wonderful times in the country. I imagine I would squeal too if I see the pyramids for the first time.

    Just like you, I love the call for the prayer. I grew up in Indonesia, and I heard the call for prayer (adzan) five times a day. Every. Single. Day. I loved it. Now that I live in Los Angeles, I deeply miss it.

    How funny that I just had falafel for lunch today! I do love that tiny little balls. So yummy. Thank you for sharing the recipe. While I don’t think I will make my own falafels, I will feast on the yummy picture.

    • Thank you soooooooooooooooooooooooo much Anita for your very enthusiastic comments today! Perhaps there might be a Mosque somewhere close to where you live and even though it won’t be the same, it might bring back wonderful memories for you!

  85. Leanne Pearce says:

    Lovely! Egypt is on my list of places to go one day. Loved your photos

  86. mrsmuffintop says:

    I am incredibly envious of your trip to Egypt! Seeing the pyramids and museums are on my bucket list! I had no idea that fava beans were used for felafel. I’ve always had the “only” chickpea kind (and I also had no idea they shouldn’t be cooked!). I’m hungry, so I’m going to go order some from the middle eastern restaurant down the street now…. 🙂

  87. Nancy says:

    Okay so get this. I’ve never really had a falafel before. I mean, I’ve even ventured out to a popular falafel “drive-in” and take out place, but I ended up ordering something with chicken in it. Had a bite of my husbands, and really liked it. Maybe next time 🙂

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Joanne T. Ferguson

Passionate Home Cook who tries to inspire one recipe and one event at time!


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