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Falafels are street food sold in Middle Eastern countries and are made with dried legumes like chickpeas, fava beans soaked in water for many hours and then they are combined with spices and are bound together with flour or bulgur wheat and then they are fried, shaped into small balls or patties.

In Greece we make something which is similar to Falafel, called Revithkeftedes. However, they are quite different in taste, as in Greece we boil the chickpeas and the spices used are much different.

A few weeks ago I went to the Central Market again with another friend and this time I showed her around.

This time we visited the outdoor market with the vegetables.  It’s not a very big street but there are stores on one side of the road and stalls on the opposite.   I was hoping to find some cilantro and chives and was disappointed because after asking at some stalls no one had any.   The last one I asked was in one of the stores and it seems that the store was owned by an Egyptian, who was surprised that I wanted to buy cilantro.  He showed me where it was and he told me that the Greek people don’t like it and he was so excited that I wanted to buy some that he started telling me ways to use it.  I told him that I was also looking for chives but I could not see any on his stalls and his face lightened up and said:   “You want chives, I’ll bring you some right away”.  They had a basement was used as a storehouse and he called someone in Arabic and soon the elevator came up with a pot with some chives in it.  It was not planted in soil but just preserved in this pot and he told me I should store it in the refrigerator with the pot.  In fact it lasted 15 days in the fridge.

After buying a few other things, we visited another Egyptian store, called Kleopatra, 11 – 13 Kratinou Street, Plateia Dimarchiou (City Hall Square)  and picked up some pomegranate syrup, fine bulguar wheat for koupes (kibbeh) and Cypriot pita, along with a few other things.   They had a variety of halwa and wanted to try some to see if there was any difference with the Greek one and I was not disappointed.  It was just as good.  The only thing I bought and was disappointed were a box of maamouls.  I chose some which were stuffed with figs, as I love figs, but the crust was too soft and the filling was not as good as I expected.

The first time I went to this store with Marianna, we bought some ready made falafel, in which you added just water and fried them.   Since then I had made my mind to make falafel and when I saw some fava beans I put them in the basket determined to make falafel from scratch.   These fava beans have really got me confused.  I knew that fava beans are called koukia in Greek but the employee in the shop told me they are called foulia.  If these fava beans are the same as Greek koukia, how come they are so tiny, at least half the size of the Greek koukia?   Are foulia and koukia the same thing?  In Greece fava is the yellow split pea and in Cyprus foulia is a white flower, with a lovely aroma like jasmine.  Are fava and broad beans the same thing?  Can anybody help me sort this out?

The weather was lovely that day and we had a great time looking around in the narrow streets around the market place.  Before leaving we wanted to rest, drinking a cup of coffee and enjoying the view.

This is a recipe I bookmarked a long time ago from Val’s blog but never managed to make it.  I changed the recipe a little by adding less garlic, harissa instead of cayenne or paprika and fried them in olive oil.  I fried half the quantity and served them as a side dish with Cypriot grilled pita and tahini sauce.

The remaining I covered with cling film and stored it in the refrigerator and fried them the next week.

Falafel– Middle Eastern Cuisine:

Yield: about 40




fava beans (or chickpeas)









Parsley, finely chopped



Cilantro, finely chopped










Freshly ground black pepper




1 – 2


Olive oil



Lemon Juice



Fine bulgur wheat




Olive oil for frying



Soak the fava beans in plenty of water overnight.


The following day, drain the fava beans and place them in a food processor, a little each time, and process them until mashed. Add a tablespoon of water, each time if necessary.Remove into a bowl.


In the same food processor, add the onion, cut into smaller pieces, the garlic, the olive oil and lemon juice and process.


Add the onion mixture to the fava beans and add the baking powder, flour, bulgur wheat, cumin, harissa, salt and pepper as well as the parsley and the cilantro and mix. Cover mixture with cling film and refrigerate for a few hours.


Form into patties or small balls and fry in plenty hot olive oil until golden brown.


Remove on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.

Notes: The mixture can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a few days covered with cling film.If the mixture falls apart, add a couple of tablespoons of flour or bulgur wheat.

This is my entry for Bookmarked Recipes, hosted by Psychgrad of Equal Opportunity Kitchen.   There’s been a little confusion about the dates I am hosting and I am hosting this week instead of the other, so just send your recipes to [email protected]

You still have time to signup for Earth Hour.   Don’t forget to switch off the lights tonight at 8:30 p.m.

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.


Other relevant recipes:


Revithokeftedes (Greek chickpea patties)

Fakokeftedes (lentil burgers)


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Marie Presutti

Monday 9th of November 2009

Hi, I did make these over the weekend. But my version I bought Falafel and I added 1 cup and 1/4 cup of water to one cup of falafel. I added the chick peas put in blender and added chives spices. I let it sit for 15 minutes. Then I heated my frying pan. Well the recipe didn't thicken but I cooded them anyway and they were tasty. I guess my question is I bought the powder mix at the bulk and I must have taken the wrong recipe. Would someone be so kind as to email me this lovely recipe using the falafel powder. It sure is tasty. Thank you Marie

janet tomara

Thursday 9th of April 2009

I have lived in Greece for over 20yrs and fava is made with chickpeas (revithia) which are also used for lenten keftedes and broad beans (koukia) are usually just boiled as in UK and eaten on Greek clean Monday plain with some oregano sprinkled on top. Love your site..

Divya Vikram

Sunday 5th of April 2009

Am a big fan of falafel. Thanks for the authentic recipe.

Susan from Food Blogga

Saturday 4th of April 2009

I love falafel, so I know I'd love this. In fact, I wish I knew a great falafel place for dinner tonight. Do you deliver? ;)


Friday 3rd of April 2009

Another food I really like. Maybe it is because Indian food has a lot in common with Middle Eastern food, the flavours are very familiar.

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