Coriander is a main ingredient of Egyptian and Middle Eastern falafel. What is the difference between the two?
Coriander is native to southern Europe and western Asia. The word is believed to mean bug in Greek, relating to the smell of the plant. Cilantro is Spanish for coriander, the dominant name in the U.S., due to the influence of the Mexican cuisine.
Coriander’s use as a herb dates back about five thousand years. A small amount of the plant was even found in the tomb of King Tut, the Egyptian pharaoh.
Spice and Recipe takes you to the land of King Tut, and of Lubna Hussein’s as well.
Hussein left Egypt to support her husband, Hesham Basma, as he pursued his graduate studies. They lived in Memphis, Tennessee before rooting in Omaha where they raised their three daughters. Both Hussein and Basma are accomplished professionals of the University of Nebraska system and active members of the muslim community of Omaha.
Coriander is the main ingredient of the Alexandrian falafel, an Egyptian recipe, presented by Hussein. Watch the episode to learn the difference between Egyptian and Middle Eastern falafel.
Spice & Recipe: The Origins of Flavor is a biweekly show that you can watch locally in Omaha, Nebraska on KPAO-TV, Cox 22/1022, and worldwide on the NAM YouTube channel or this website.
RECIPE: ALEXANDRIAN FALAFEL
SERVING SIZE: 4 PEOPLE
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- ½ cup chopped dill
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 medium onion, cubed
- 1 bunch wild (perennial) leek
- 2 ½ cups Fava beans, soaked overnight
- sesame seeds, roasted
- 4 tablespoons cumin seeds, roasted and ground
- 4 tablespoons coriander seeds, roasted and ground
- black pepper, ground, to taste
- salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- pita bread, halved
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- red chili peppers, to taste
- green onion, chopped
- tomato, chopped
- pickled vegetables
- tahini sauce
Soak fava beans overnight, changing water every couple of hours.
Use a mortar to smash coriander and cumin seeds. Put aside. Repeat for black pepper, about 1 teaspoon or to taste. Place soaked fava beans, coriander, parsley, dill, salt, black pepper, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, onion cubes, garlic, and leeks in a food processor until nicely blended. Place the dough aside.
In a frying pan, saute chopped onion and garlic, adding red chili pepper to taste, until the mixture becomes more of a paste.
Scoop a handful of dough, flatten and, using a teaspoon, create a pressure in the middle to place a teaspoon of red paste/filling. Roll the dough to cover the filling. Shape the falafel in a flat round patty and coat the sides with roasted sesame seeds. Heat the vegetable oil and fry the falafel for about three minutes each side or until the sesame seeds are charred.
Place falafel inside the pita bread. Add chopped tomato, green onions, pickled vegetables and lastly, a few teaspoons of tahini sauce. ENJOY!
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