Sweet Falafel? Why not?

What you see above may horrify and shock you, but yet, a part of you will be tempted to try these. I had the idea in a flash of brilliance. You see, to us Lebanese, tahini is a major major part of our diet. We make hommos and baba ghannouj with it, and we put it on top of fried fish, shawarma (Lebanese kebab, much better than the Turkish version, obviously) and falafels. We also use it in a limited way in sweets. We mix it with carob mollasses to make a nice sweet dip which we simply eat with bread, and we also butter cake tins with it, such as in sfouf, a yellow cake flavoured with tumeric. The Greeks also use tahini in their own way and they make tahinopita, a special pie made for Lent. The ingredient is without doubt Lebanese, or at least from our side of the med. The word itself signifies something that has been ground up, in this case sesame, which are ground as they are to produce tahini. Nothing else is used, pure sesame.

Now my idea as it ended up resulted in a very simple yet tasty dish, which at first glance looks very similar to falafels, but tastes very different. The falafel disks are made from white bread, tahini, salt and sugar, mixed with fennel seeds, with a small bit of water to help it come along. The mixture needs to be strong and not too sticky. As it is already edible, you need to taste it to make sure you have the right balance.
As a guidline:
4 large slices of white bread (not Lebanese bread)
3/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fennel seeds

Mix all ingredients except fennel seeds in blender/food processor. Work into a nice not too sticky paste, add the fennel seeds and deep fry in small batches. Make sure the oil is not too hot as you want the inside to cook a bit as well. These fellas will brown very quickly, so remove when nice and golden.

My initial idea was to make a sweet tahini sauce, which is what you see in the photo. I made that by mixing tahini, lemon juice, icing sugar, and water. You need lots of lemon juice and sugar. This completes the illusion that you are serving falafel, but this is also tasty with a simple syrup of sugar and lemon juice, with lots of lemon juice.

Apologies on the not too clear directions, but this is a first attempt. Try it, and taste the paste as you go along and it will not go wrong. A cheat’s recipe for dessert, and makes for interesting conversation!


  • These Falafels are exquisite! The experience of tasting something while your taste buds are exepcting something else is enthralling!!!! This dessert is a winner…plus, loved the crunch of the outside wuth the sweet syrup and the lovely gooey inside…the sweet flavour, the spices, the aroma…hummmm… more please

  • I've never actually made my own falafel before, however after reading this post you've tempted me now. Thanks.

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