In March 2002, I visited Cairo and ate amazing felafel in an admittedly unstylish cafeteria-esque restaurant called Al-Tabie Ad-Domyati. I went back several times during my stay because the felafel was freshly made and super crispy outside and just all-around great. (As a side note, the internet tells me that Al-Tabie Ad-Domyati now delivers within Cairo and has a full, interactive menu on-line.)
Today, I stopped for a quick lunch at Roti. Once I understood and got over the fact that there is no roti on the menu, I decided I was okay with Mediterranean food. The menu offered two options for non-meat centerpieces for your salad, sandwich, or platter: felafel and roasted vegetables. (The 2nd strike against the restaurant was that the woman behind me in line ordered salmon on her salad, which caused me to double-check that salmon was indeed not listed on the menu, and so apparently only available to those in the know.) I ordered felafel on a salad. It was awful. Gummy inside, not flavorful, and with no discernible crispiness to its shell. If I ever visit a Roti again, I’m ordering the secret salmon instead.
The Al-Tabie Ad-Domyati menu describes their felafel as a “mixture of fava beans + onions + spring onions + leeks + stale bread + coriander, made into fried patties.” Roti doesn’t offer the ingredients of their felafel, but I’m not trying to re-create that anyways. My go to cookbook for such things, Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, surprisingly offers no felafel recipe. She does have a black-eyed pea fritter recipe which she says is simlar to felafel, that includes black-eyed peas + onions + salt + pepper + cayenne fried in oil.
- Where’s your favorite felafel?
- Have you ever made it (or similar fritters) at home?
- Will Madhur Jaffrey release the last ten years of her felafel recipe?
- Should I give Roti a 2nd chance?