What Is Falafel? Recipes and Facts About the Delicious Garbonzo or Fava Bean Staple Celebrated in Google Doodle

For today's Google Doodle, the search engine is celebrating falafel, the deep-fried balls described as the best thing that ever happened to chickpeas albeit with the "possible exception of hummus."

The dish can also be made from fava beans, although Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon favor chickpeas or garbanzo, which is the more popular version in the West.

In a statement explaining the June 18 Doodle, Google said that the exact origins of the falafel is not precisely known but has been enjoyed in many Middle Eastern and Asian countries for centuries.

Google explain that India produces a large percentage on the chickpea crop, whereas Egypt favor using fava beans to make the crispy fried balls, known as ta'amiya. Israelis are also so fond of the dish they even have a song for it entitled "And We Have Falafel."

It is common to serve falafel with hummus in a wrap or pitta. The animation for today's Google Doodle even shows three falafel balls gleefully jumping inside a pitta with hummus and vegetables.

"Over time, more eclectic toppings has been introduced all over the world, ranging from German sauerkraut, to Iraqi fried eggplant, to Indian mango sauce, to Yemeni hot sauce," Google adds in a statement. "Even newer variations such as the red falafel—made with jalapeños roasted peppers, tomatoes, and spicy yogurt—or the orange falafel—made with sweet potatoes, cabbage, honey, and ginger tahini—preserve the basic formula of ground legumes, seasoned and fried in oil."

The chickpea-based falafel can be prepared in many ways, but usually involves mixing dried chickpeas with onion, garlic and other herbs and spices including cumin, coriander, parsley, salt, pepper and flour. The ingredients are then mixed in a blender before the patty is shaped into balls and deep fried in oil until brown and crispy.

According to Google, the world's largest falafel weighed in at a massive 74.8 kilograms (164.8 pounds), stood a total of 152 centimeters (59.8 inches) in height. The ball was so large it had to be fried for a total of 25 minutes at the Landmark Hotel in Amman, Jordan, until it was ready.

As noted by Cnet, this is not the first time that Google has celebrated food with one of its Doodles. In November 2017, it produced a slideshow to honor the popular Thai rice noodle dish and last year celebrated the 4th of July by posting an interactive map showing different foods and recipes from each of the 50 states and five U.S. territories.

Today’s June 18 Google Doodle celebrates the popular falafel dish. Google