Hands down, no other place compares to the Palestinian falafel found in the markets and street vendors of East Jerusalem.
The key to the unique flavor of Jerusalem Palestinian falafel is the addition of spices like cumin and sumac, as well as the use of chickpeas instead of fava beans, like they use elsewhere in the Middle East. The mixture is then formed into small balls and deep-fried to perfection.
One of my favorite spots to grab authentic Palestinian falafel is at the bottom of the stairs when coming into Damascus Gate in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. The vendor has been there for decades and greets every customer like an old friend. Of course, they use a special technique of frying the falafel by using a dome-shaped scoop, which allows for even cooking and a crispy exterior. Not to mention, it’s made fresh each time!
If you’re unable to make it to Jerusalem, I’ve included a recipe below for you to make your own Jerusalem Palestinian falafel at home.
Jerusalem Palestinian Falafel Recipe:
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground sumac
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Oil for frying
- Soak the chickpeas in water overnight.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add them to a food processor with the parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, sumac, salt, and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is well combined but still slightly chunky.
- Form the mixture into small balls or patties.
- Heat oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 350°F.
- Carefully add the falafel to the hot oil and fry for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Serve the falafel in pita bread with tahini, tomatoes, and cucumber.
Enjoy these falafel balls with hummus and tahini, and don’t forget to sprinkle some sumac on top for that authentic Jerusalem flavor.
As an amateur chef, I am always trying to create authentic Jerusalem-style Palestinian recipes, and who doesn’t love hummus?! So, after a ton of trial and error, I want to share my version of this recipe with all of you so you can experience the same joy I did.
This recipe is simple, yet delicious, and it’s perfect for those who love the taste of chickpeas and tahini. The secret to this recipe is the addition of Jerusalem-style spices, which gives it a unique and irresistible taste.
- 1 lb dried chickpeas
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
- Add the chickpeas to a large pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let them simmer for about an hour, or until they are very soft.
- Drain the chickpeas and reserve the cooking liquid.
- In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth.
- If the hummus is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking liquid, a little at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Serve the hummus with warm pita bread and garnish with olive oil and parsley.
This recipe will yield about 4 servings. You can serve it as a side dish or as the main event! If you play around with the recipe and make it your own – great, just make sure you don’t call it hummus if you take out the chickpeas!
A typical late breakfast in a Palestinian home consists of hummus, yogurt, chopped fresh vegetables, and a proper dousing of olive oil and zaatar.
Jerusalem hummus is a delicious and classic dish. The addition of cumin and coriander in this hummus recipe gives it a warm and earthy flavor that is sure to please your taste buds. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Happy cooking!
The Middle East is certainly hot and spicy … and we don’t just mean the people! Cuisine in the region bursts with flavor waiting to test your tastebuds. Can you stand the heat? Get in the kitchen and try out this quick and easy recipe for a delicious spicy sauce called ‘Zhug’ (סחוג) in Hebrew and known as ‘Shatta’ (شطة) in Palestinian Arabic. There are red and green versions of our team’s favorite ethnic condiment, so we’ve provided you with both (even though we prefer the green version or “zhug yarok”).
Green Zhug Recipe
Spicy green Yemenite condiment known as sahaweq/zhug/shatta.
- 1 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
- 5 serrano peppers (serrano are skinny and slightly longer green peppers)
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1/3 teaspoon cumin
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Wash the serrano peppers. Seed them and remove the white pith. Chop coarsely and place in a food processor.
- Wash the cilantro well and pat dry. Remove stems and chop the leaves. Add to the food processor.
- Peel the garlic and add to the pepper and cilantro mixture. Add cumin and salt.
- Blend. Add water and olive oil as needed. Blend until desired consistency is reached.
Red Zhug Recipe
Delicious red sahaweq/shatta, also known as harissa.
- 5 oz of dried hot red peppers
- 2 tablespoons of cumin
- a couple of pinches of black pepper
- 7 cardamom pods, ground
- 2 whole heads of garlic, peeled and chopped
- pinch of salt
- 2 pieces of cilantro, washed, stemmed and chopped
- Add all above ingredients to a stone or clay mortar.
- Grind into a paste with the pestle.
Either of the above Middle Eastern spicy condiment recipes can be used for a variety of dishes. Marinate a protein (such as fish) in the sauce, douse over sides like rice or hummus, or take a piece of bread and spread it on in a thick layer for a great bite!
This spicy sauce condiment goes great with Palestinian food, too.