February 28, 2017

How To Make The Best Falafel Ever

Food editor Kristen Eppich shares the secret to making Palestinian-style falafel, straight from the Middle East.
Kristen-Eppich-Feature-620x460I recently took a walking food tour through the neighborhood of Deira, Dubai while on a trip with Emirates Airline. Though now dwarfed by the fame, glitz and glamor of new Dubai, Deira is where you’ll find the traditional flavors of the old city. In particular, people go there for one thing: falafel.

Walking with my local food hero Arva, we headed to one of her favorite spots, Sultan Dubai Falafel. We watched the cooks fill their molds with vibrant green chickpea batter (the green comes mainly from parsley) and drop them into the fryer. They handed us fresh samples over the counter, and the falafel were light, fluffy, crunchy on the exterior and extremely soft and tender in the center. Simply put, they were the best falafel I’d ever had.

Once the falafel is cooked, the assembly of the sandwich is key. The counter was filled with familiar accoutrements, like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus, a green sauce (which Arva identified as uniquely Palestinian) and pickled carrot and turnip. The pickled vegetables are to be served with the sandwich, not in it. There were also some roasted vegetables, in this case eggplant and cauliflower. And then there’s the pita: extremely thin and almost see-through, tender, soft and fresh.

For your own taste of Palestinian-style falafel, try this wonderful recipe from local food celebrity Dima Al Sharif’s cookbook, Plated Heirlooms. And here’s how to assemble your falafel sandwich like they do in Dubai:


Step 1: Open your pita.
Step 2: Dip your falafel in tahini then place inside the pita.

Step 3: Close the pita and flatten the falafel. Open it back up again.
Step 4: Add lots of hummus.

Step 5: Add sauces, like green parsley sauce and red chili sauce.
Step 6: Add vegetables, like lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Step 7. Roll and eat with a side of pickled vegetables.

Trip to Dubai courtesy of Air Emirates. For copies of Dima Al Sharif’s cookbook, Plated Heirlooms, email [email protected]. For walking food tours of Dubai, visit

Author: Kristen Eppich