During the French Revolution, on being told the peasants did not have enough bread eat, Marie Antoinette purportedly said, “Let them eat cake” In Egypt, people may not hear that exact comment, because both the rich and poor commonly eat fava beans. Fava beans are their everyday staple food and they have many different ways of preparing the beans with their meals. These beautiful emerald green beans with soft texture and nutty flavor are currently in season in California. I picked up 3 lbs of fresh fava beans to make Egyptian-style falafel in my kitchen.
To start, I shell the beans (3 lbs yields about 2 cups skinned beans) and grind them with 1 cup green onion, 1/3 cup Italian parley, 3 tablespoons cilantro, 3 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper & ¼ cup water in a food processor. With my hand, I then form 1-inch balls and dust them with flour. Separately, I fill a thick pan with grapeseed oil and heat it to 350 F. Subsequently, I dip the “fava-balls” in the egg white and fry them until they turn golden. Finally, I serve them with Tahini (sesame seeds paste) and fresh Italian parsley.
During my time with the US Peace Corps in Kenya, I thought dried beans were the best thing in the world. Now I love the fresh beans even more. A bite of these fresh “fava-balls” melts away like chocolate mousse in the mouth. And, the bold flavors of Middle Eastern spices give a great “kick” and is harmonized by mouth-coating rich, creamy sesame seeds paste (Tahini). What a delicious appetizer/snack these Egyptian falafel is!
I pair this dish with 2010 Muga rose wine from Rioja, Spain. A blend of Grenache, Tempranillo and Viura, this full-bodied dry rose has great notes of red apples, pink grapefruit & strawberries. Crisp, lively & mineral-y, it is a very food-friendly wine. A sip of the wine cleanses away the richness of the “fava-balls” in the mouth, making me to dig in for more delicious Egyptian-style falafel. This pairing is totally addictive.
So, next time you’re in Farmer’s Market, grab some fresh fava beans and try making these delicious Egyptian falafel. As it is loved by everyone in Egypt, I hope all your family and friends enjoy this recipe! Happy cooking!