June 18, 2019
Today’s Doodle celebrates falafel, the best thing that ever happened to chickpeas—with the possible exception of hummus, of course.
Although the exact origins of this spicy street food have been lost to the mists of time, falafel has been enjoyed for centuries in many different cultures. India produces the vast majority of the world’s chickpea crop, which currently is in high season. In Egypt, fava beans are ground to make these delicious, crispy balls of fried plant protein, known in Egypt as “ta'amiya.” Israel has a song to celebrate its love affair with the tried-and-true treat, entitled And We Have Falafel.
Over time, more eclectic toppings has been introduced all over the world, ranging from German sauerkraut, to Iraqi fried eggplant, to Indian mango sauce, to Yemeni hot sauce. Even newer variations such as the red falafel—made with jalapeños roasted peppers, tomatoes, and spicy yogurt—or the orange falafel—made with sweet potatoes, cabbage, honey, and ginger tahini—preserve the basic formula of ground legumes, seasoned and fried in oil. The world’s largest falafel, weighing 74.8 kilograms (164.8 pounds) and reaching 152 centimeters (59.8 inches) in height, was fried for 25 minutes at the Landmark Hotel in Amman, Jordan.
Happy chickpea season!
Early drafts by artist Sophie Diao