Egyptian falafels (Ta’amia)

Surprisingly easy to cook from scratch, this traditional Egyptian dish is delicious as a snack or meze. Authentic Egyptian falafels (or more accurately ta’amia) are made with split fava beans instead of chickpeas. Unlike many others, our recipe is both gluten free and vegan – it contains no eggs, flour or breadcrumbs.
Makes about 16 falafels


500g split fava beans, soaked overnight (or speed-soaked in boiling water)
1 red onion
Big bunch fresh coriander
1 red chilli pepper
Zest of 2 lemons
10 mint leaves
3 pinches coarse salt
3 pinches fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
Vegetable oil for deep frying

For the yoghurt sauce
8 mint leaves
350g yoghurt (or vegan alternative)
Juice of ½ lemon
Coarse salt
Fresh ground black pepper


For this recipe you need to soak the beans, but don’t boil them as all the cooking happens in the oil. The beans can be soaked overnight or speed-soaked by placing them in water that’s been brought to the boil, then taking it off the heat and leaving to stand for 1 hour.

Coarsely chop the herbs, chilli and onion. Mix with the beans, spices and lemon zest, and pulse in a food processor until fairly smooth – though not to a paste.

Roll ping pong ball size patties from the mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the yoghurt sauce. Finely chop the mint and stir with the yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Refrigerate.

Heat enough vegetable oil to cover a single layer of patties in a deep pan. When the oil is very hot, carefully place the patties in the oil and deep fry until dark golden brown – this will take a few minutes.

Drain briefly on kitchen paper and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Serve the falafel with the yoghurt sauce, a lightly dressed salad and some pitta bread.


4 Responses to “Egyptian falafels (Ta’amia)”

  1. Dave Tyrrell | June 6, 2014 at 4:21 am #

    Best Falafel recipe I’ve tried.They hold together very well without additional flour so avoid both soggy centres and disintegration. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I’d like the flavour but this is a revelation – much better than chick peas, well done!

  2. John | April 6, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Tastes great. I would add toast or bread crumbs. Otherwise it’s not dry enough to roll balls.

  3. Tash | March 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    I made these the other day. Delicious but they seemed very dry. Any suggestions to avoid this? Recipe says no boiling but does that mean use them straight from the packet, dry as they are?

    • Nick Saltmarsh | March 19, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      Hi Tash. Did you soak the beans before grinding them up with the other ingredients? They do need to be soaked – either overnight or you can speed soak by placing them in boiling water, taking it off the heat and leaving to stand for 1 hour. The falafels should be deliciously succulent when made with properly soaked beans. Hope that helps, Nick

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