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Falafel

by Seema Upadhyay (writer), Mumbai, November 25, 2008

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Authentic falafel now in Mumbai at Falafel's Veg Hummus House

What’s common between Israel, Manhattan, New York and amchi Mumbai? Well it’s the Piping hot Pita bread with falafel and hummus. One fine afternoon when I was taking a stroll with my eight year old to have our fix of Gelato dessert, mind you I have only Gelatos (it’s 99% fat free) because I feel less guilty for having those dollops of extra calories if I eat Baskin Robbins or other frozen desserts and ice cream. We didn’t get our Gelatos and were taken by a pleasant surprise as instead of Gelatos we walked in at Falafel’s Veg Hummus House in Lokhandwala (gelatos has shifted, don’t know where)

Now just what is falafel? Asked my nine year old daughter tugging at my sleeves, well the name is Israeli and falafel are crispy and crunchy vegetarian balls. They are made by mixing fresh vegetables with chickpea and their secret herbs and spices from Israel (no amount of coaxing from me helped to reveal the secret ingredients) and deep fried and is served with hot Pita bread and Hummus. Falafels was started by a Israeli family in the year 1960 and after opening couple of outlets in Israeli, the family opened in New York and the Indians who had the falafels in Manhattan told the restaurant owners to look at opening outlets in Mumbai. Since these Israeli guys were serious about their business, they entered Indian Market.

The only difference is that in India they are serving only vegetarian; keeping the Indian sentiments in mind; they also have Jain course. Let’s check out this new Mediterranean cuisine that has became a craze in Mumbai. Infact the JB N JEG Foods Pvt. Ltd. is planning to take Falafel’s Veg Hummus House to other cities like Pune, Surat, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi. The main ingredients of this Mediterranean cuisine is tahina, fresh green vegetables, chickpea, olive oil and their secret spices and herbs. Hummus which is a thick paste of chickpea, tahina and olive oil with the secret herbs and spices and is served fresh with the hot falafel balls and piping hot oven fresh pita bread. Fresh pickled vegetables and sour chillies are served as a side dish.

The Chef Guy Itzhaki is from Israel and is the third generation Chef who has traveled to India to launch Falafel’s and to maintain the authentic and standard taste of the Mediterranean cuisine in all their outlets in India. What is hummus? Hummus belongs to the pulse group and due to its high protein content, constitutes a good source of Vegetal protein and is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber. It is also a prime source for vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid and iron. These nutritional content, make the chickpea (hummus bean) a food with influence over the health of our heart, our blood sugar levels and even the slowing of the aging process. Studies have shown that meals containing hummus positively affect different measurements and indexes, such as insulin and cholesterol levels and influence how full we feel. And since hummus is high in an amino acid called tryptophan, which increases the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurological component that influences our mood, quality of sleep and memory; so don't be surprised at those times when eating hummus with friends improved your Mood The second important constituent of the mediterranean cuisine is Tahini. Tahini is the fatty component produced by pealing and crushing roasted sesame seeds. Sesame may be the oldest known spices, dating back to 1600 BC. Its seeds are used in the foods of different cultures. In Asian cuisine the seeds are used as seasoning, the flavor is released when these are chewed. In the Middle East it is scooped with pita bread as tahini.Its unique nutritional values make tahini an essential healthy component in the Middle Eastern diet. Sesame seeds are rich in fat, and indeed raw tahini contains 50% fat; mostly healthy fat, called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated which contribute to the balancing of cholesterol in the blood.

Falafel’s veg Hummus House serves falafel, Hummus, tehina, Pita bread,salads,Sambusac and deserts at all their outlets.Sambusac is a filled pastry made up of Pita bread and is stuffed with your favourite topping either paneer, mushroom or the authentic falafels. You can also have Babagnosh- well quite an exotic name for our good old brinjal which is stuffed in Pita bread and down it with their home made special lemonade juice which will cost Rs.40 for a small glass whereas big one is for Rs.50.The Zatar Pita is yum; but one should have it piping hot with the sour chillies; which they import from Israel. In deserts you can try out Malabi for Rs.30; which is made up of milk, corn flour, rose syrup and coconut or try out my favourite Bavarya which is vanilla cream, chocolates and nuts for just Rs.40. Falafel’s Veg Hummus House has recently launched combo meals. There are three options to choose from: Option 1 is Hummus with tehina and 2 Pita breads, pickles, sauces with an option of either vegetable salad or dessert (either Malabi or Bavarya) and a cold beverage of fresh lemonade or a Pepsi and all this for just Rs.160 for a small portion or Rs.170 for a big portion. You can choose a topping from either falafel, chickpea if your health conscious or mushroom. Option 2 is just Falafel that is the Pita bread stuffed with falafels with lemonade or Pepsi; the small portion will make your pockets lighter by Rs.105; while a big one will cost you Rs.115. You can also try the 3rd combo which has a Sambusac (that is the Pita bread pastry with your favourite stuffing) with a Lemonade or Pepsi for just Rs.85 for small and Rs.95 for big portion.

There are special combo meals for children to choose from; one is crispy potato wedges with falafel, hummus, veg salad and either Pepsi or lemonade for just Rs.95. The other option is Pizza Sambusac with chocolate mousse and Pepsi or lemonade for Rs.95. the kids can take home a fluorescent smiley ball which is free with their combo meals. The icing on the cake is that all the prices are inclusive of taxes. Recently they have launched Basil hummus, which is not just tasty but really healthy and also whole wheat Pita bread. Next in the offing is passion fruit drink and special cold coffee; these again would be imported from Israel. All the regular meals as well as combo meals are available at Falafel’s Veg Hummus House situated at Colaba; Hill Road- Bandra, Lokhandwala, Gowalior tank, Oberoi Mall at Goregoan, CR2, Nariman Point and Inorbit Mall, Vashi.



About the Writer

Seema Upadhyay is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on Falafel

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By Seema Upadhyay on November 26, 2008 at 01:12 am

Hey Julian thanks. My daughter is crazy abt falafel n Pita bread and most of the times she wants to order at mid-night LOL

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By Notumbus Bumbus on December 07, 2011 at 11:02 am

The Lebanese and other Middle Easterners might argue with the contention that the word "fallafel" is Israeili. The dish is endemic to that entire region, and I would be highly sceptical of any one country laying claim to the word and to the dish, it goes back very far in time. The ancient Egyptians used garbanzo beans in many forms, I'm talking Pharoahs, etc., as a time range, eh? I have been told by several Middle Eastern natives that there are two keys to the "perfect" fallafel - the type and quality of the oil used, and the balance of garbanzo to the spices. Frying time is also critical - too long, they are hard as rocks, too little, and they are mushy inside. Like so many things in life, timing is everything!!

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By TonyBerkman on December 07, 2011 at 11:13 am

Falafel is delciious whever you go in the Middle East. It's like Pizza. What difference does it make where it comes from as long as it's delicious.

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