Afros and Falafel

I could base an entire blog around my mom.  the things that happen to her-both self-inflicted and accidental-are almost too ridiculous to believe; like the time she locked herself into a fitting room because she was protesting what she thought was a  clothing store’s bad return policy (another time, i think).

My mother is 5’4″ with hazel eyes and extremely curly hair; an Arab Afro if you will. Her hair is so distinctive, friends and colleagues of mine will often text me and say something like ,”i think i saw your mom’s hair walking down the street”.  Yes, that’s my mom.

My mother is also as Middle Eastern as it gets. Sometimes I have to remind her that we are not in Southern Lebanon anymore, so no…you can’t taste a clementine before you buy the box at the supermarket, because here in America… that’s considered stealing.

In addition to her crazy hair and mild case of produce kleptomania, my mom truly is a free spirit.  She is the kindest person i know, absolutely hilarious, soulful, caring, clumsy, and believes in all religions.  She’s also ruins any and all proverbs, saying things like, “well Ahlam, cat’s out of the box now”… she’s perfect.

But there’s one way my mom truly expresses all of her emotions; cooking. And my god can this woman cook. Her specialty; falafel.

There would be no way I could write an entire blog entry describing my mom or my unbreakable bond with her, but you can get to know her through her cooking.


*fyi, my mom doesn’t measure ANYTHING, so don’t stress about measurements.

if you want to be an overachiever and use dry chickpeas and soak them overnight, go ahead. I’ll stick with the easier route, thanks.


1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley, I prefer flat

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup spinach, chopped (optional)

2 tbsp cumin

1 tsp baking soda

salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil for fryin

(see tahini sauce recipe below)

pita bread!


1.) place all items in processor and blend until no large chunks (might need to do this in batches)

2.) let mixture sit for about 10 minutes (the baking soda is doing its magic)

3.) shape mixture into beer pong..errr…ping pong ball size. then flatten into patties

4.) heat up veg oil (enough to cover half of patty at least) over med-high.  when oil is hot, start cookin’

5.) when one side is brown and you cannot see any green, flip over and cook other side (about 3 mins each)

6.) line dinner plate with paper towels for falafel…serve in pita pockets with chopped tomatoes and pickled radish : )

Tahini sauce:

1 tbsp tahini paste

half cup water (you can add more if you’d like it thinner)

4 garlic cloves mashed

1 tsp salt

2 tsp lemon juice

*mix all together, serve on side with falafel *

Arab Tip: how can you tell good quality falafel from the cheap stuff? open it up and see how green it is on the inside.  If it’s the same color as chick peas, the restaurant owner is too cheap to use fresh veggies and is taking you for a fool. 


6 responses to “Afros and Falafel

  1. Thanks for liking my blog. Yours intrigues me! Your humor is tender, and I love how you love your family. I’m definitely going to try this recipe–I’m learning to love Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food!

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