I absolutely love Falafels.

My very first experience of having one was in the true touristy style at one of those little, mediterranean cafes lining the narrow cobblestoned paths around Grand Place. A little history on Grand Place. It’s a courtyard boxed in by the huge majestic Town Hall that provides the backdrop for showcasing the Sonne et Lumiere show every summer evening. Brussels is the city.


Spectacular? ..and that’s just a regular evening with a lit up Broodhuis. Beer and wine flow in copius quantities and the mood is always cheery. Off these buildings, adjacent little spiked narrow paths lead away, not unlike he rays of the sun. One leads to the famous Manneken Pis Boy. I know, I didn’t have to say it, but really, how could anyone talk about Brussels and not mention the pis boy!

So in any case, what’s interesting is that Brussels is truly at the heart of Europe, not just geographically located [and being the capital of EU and all that] but more so of the liberal, relaxed [next to Swiss] and accommodative culture and lifestyle they allow. Each Rue (street) fanning out was filled, literally filled with teeny cafes, red geraniums from rectangular flower beds, and little chairs and tables on which sat the average built diner. Concept of space is a non-issue. It’s only in the US do I find this whole 3 feet of personal space that we strictly adhere to, no matter where we are. So yes, these little cafes were so close and patrons sat almost on each other’s laps, inhaling secondary smoke, and if necessary reaching out and grabbing a piece of bread from the next table with just a slight stretching of the elbow. Not that they do it, but the temptation is irresistable.

Each road served a cuisine. Mediterranean, French, Italian, Belgian, and so on.

That is where I partook of the only veggie option that the expressive little man offered me. He clucked his tongue, and wrinkled his nose, lifted his eyes onto the dark ceiling and with a waving of his hand, swished a picture of the flat round patties at me from the very soiled dog-eared menu card. I used my French on him and said “Merci monsieur, c’est perfect! Il n’y a pas de viande ou le poulet ou aucune animaux dans cette petite balle no?” To which he smiled indulgently at this complete goof ball chopping his language into fine bits that even his butcher couldn’t make of his red meat, while I thought in my head, o why doesn’t he have an egg shaped bald head, he’d have been my hero, Poirot!

..and that was almost my favorite thing to eat every alternate weekend, and decided next to the Gaufres, and the Haagen Daazs ice cream parlor on Avenue Louise, falafels were indeed God’s blessing to my parched tongue! Impressionable 21 year olds and their carbon-laced cooking I tell ya!

..and then I moved.

..and then 14 years later, I discovered these at Costco’s freezer.

…and then, I celebrate.

A primer for taste buds: Pick one and Enjoy!

  1. Eat plain with Hot-Sweet maggie ketchup.
  2. Pretend they are veggie cutlet, and continue on.
  3. Roll inside of tortilla, pita, roti, find some veggies lying around your refrigerator waiting to be rescued, dice, add and munch.
  4. Chop into tiny bits and add to any dry curry.
  5. Add to majjiga pulusu, mor kozhambu, or kadi, instead of pakoras.
  6. Stuff kids mouths. Not spicy, and they get some protein to boot.
  7. Perfect appetizer, serve with spicy tom chutney, coriander chutney, or plain ketchup. Added benefit, chickpeas fills folks up.
  8. Use instead of ragda patties.
  9. Perfect between buns as a sandwich to place in lunch boxes.
  10. ..and the most perfect one of all – use as koftas. I like the kofta idea and curries, but making a kofta and then the gravy just seemed a lot of work, which means that the frequency of preparation declines at a rapid rate. This way, all you have to do is make your gravy, while they roast in the toaster oven, and voila, kofta curry, and no one needs to know that they are healthy for you!

Nice huh?

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28 replies on “falafel”
  1. says: Altoid

    The primer rocks. I love falafel too but never knew such a frozen serving of deliciousness existed. Alright, bookmarked, noted for the next grocery trip.

  2. says: Pavan

    I hate you.. why do you have to post at such a time when the hunger pangs are at its peak and me koson door from Falafels! You now owe me a packet πŸ™‚

    btw, kofta curry is a great idea!

  3. Wow, falafel as koftas – one of those “so blindingly obvious, why didn’t someone think of it before” uses. Will definitely try after my next Costco trip.

    “chopping his language into fine bits” – much like a kofta, eh? :p

  4. says: rads

    BPSK: No, much like ‘keema’ :–)

    pavan: LOL, sorry! Will do all food related posts at say 9 am hence on! :–p

    altoid: Yea, it was a recent find! Hope they last, you know how Coscto is like a mayajaal! :–)

  5. says: A-kay

    Wierd coincidence, I just wrote a post on hummus πŸ™‚ Now, I will have to go to Costco and buy this, and make a wrap out of it with hummus. Not sure if you live anywhere close to the Bay Area. If you do or if you visit, you should definitely try the Falafel @ Falafel drive in on Stevens creek – simply divine!

    When you said Brussels, the first name that popped in my head was Poirot and his accented “C’est possible” πŸ™‚ Both me and HD love the series that aired on TV and have recorded every single episode – one of the best fictional characters on print and TV (along with Hawkeye from M.A.S.H)

  6. says: rads

    A-kay: Hummus spiced with jalapeno is my fav, as am sure it is for most of us desis.
    Stevens Creek eh? Where were you, o a few months ago? :–)

    I grew up on Agatha Christie, imagine my delight landing in Poirot’s country! :–)

    SK: The falafel pic or grand place? Long live all those talented photographers in Creative Commons on Flickr :–)

    Prestid: hehe, garlic sauce? Where, how?

  7. says: A-kay

    I envy you for having landed in Poirot’s country πŸ™‚ Didn’t quite get what you meant in your comment – were you around the neighborhood sometime back? Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I have blog-rolled you.

  8. Friend Rads

    I don’t want to detract from the quality of your post – it is really an excellent one – it is just that my situation is that of a monk who has just taken his wows of celibacy and then has the female cast of Baywatch paraded in front of him. Falafel! Koftas! Ragda Patties!

    Maybe I’ll live the extra twenty years they say I will if I continue eating the oatmeal. Or maybe it will just seem longer.

    Is an “aaarrrrghhh” in order? It is? Well, then, AAAAARRRRRRGGGHHHHHHH!

  9. says: rads

    A-kay: Thank you! ..something like that :–)

    Naren: LOL. My 2 cents – Moderation is key to healthy, long, fun living, not abstinence :–)

    laksh: Just takes some out of the box thinking :–)

  10. As a child, I used to look at the Pis-boy and giggle, much to my parents’ murderous looks. As a teenager, I learnt some history, and *still* giggled. And now, I just remember my giggling as a child, and continue to giggle πŸ™‚
    Inspired by the falafels, i made some hummus πŸ™‚ Yummmmmmm-eeeeeeee.

  11. says: wickedtaurus

    falafels…oo la la! few lebanese eateries out here in bay area take it up a notch by adding spicy french fries & a dash of hot sauce in the falafel sandwich…just YUM! Tried those mezze platters at Zaytinya in downtown DC? πŸ™‚

  12. says: Orchid

    hello there..back after a break!
    first off, belated happy ugadi to u too..make that 3 kannada readers!
    second thanks for the primer…will do it ur way!

  13. says: rads

    Orchid: Girl where HAVE you been!?
    Glad that you’re back and all, and yes, please have a falafel on me! :–)

    boosmom: LOL.. so not fair! I chugged through a bla veggie [read bland tasty as grass]burger :–(

    WT: O really? Alrighty, I looked it up, one of these days will do :–)

    Schmetterling: LOL@giggles. It is a sight indeed..and folks take snaps with such ernesty! :–)

  14. says: priya

    Falafel is foren (intended to be that way) to someone born in Sitafalmandi and bred on seetafals! πŸ™‚ anyway a rustic piece that am still experimented the outlandish stuff and the taste was awe(some for those who see the glass half full and full for those who see it half empty)
    the food aftermath!!!

  15. says: priya

    btw..the falafel that i tasted was at a famed restaurant in Chennai(name under wraps in the interest of the place) where they still continue to sell crap in the name of Lebanese and has the credit of giving me the first impresion of it.

  16. says: rads

    Priya: lol@pun :–)
    Oh well, some tastes you can never replicate outside of India too, so you win some, you lose some I spose.

    DreamE: Oh yes, makes for a nice change :–)

  17. says: terri

    rads, 21 + 14 years later … that would make you around 35 years old, n’est-ce pas? (Poirot would be so proud.)

    When Costco runs out, remind me to give you my felafel recipe. It’s great picnic fare.

  18. says: terri

    rads, you probably look around 25 and move like an 18-year-old, or vice versa. Either way, the joke’s on me because you’re younger.

  19. says: some body


    “Either way, the joke’s on me because you’re younger.”

    hmmm… that makes the inter-spousal (age) gap the least in your household (among your, rads’ and my households).


    i guess i failed to wish everyone for ugadi (in public at least!). our local function is tomorrow (while you are likely neck-deep in work … oops, i did not mean to rub salt on your wounds).

    – s.b.

  20. says: rads

    sb: Ours is too, so yea, I will be having my Ugadi pachadi at the same time you are :–p

    Aditya: Yea :–)

    terri: Now that makes me sound juvenile, not that I don’t go doing it already in this space… :–)

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