Small croquettes (balls) of mashed chick peas or fava beans seasoned with sesame seeds. Falafel is a fried ball or patty of spiced chickpeas, dating back to Biblical times and originated somewhere on the Indian subcontinent. Falafel is today eaten in India as well as in Pakistan and the Middle East. It is traditionally served with a yogurt sauce, as a sandwich in pita bread, or as an appetizer. Though its origin is uncertain, it is believed that it originally came from India, where it was made with spiced soured bread. The word "falafel" comes from the Arabic word "filfil," meaning pepper. Falafel (at least the Middle Eastern style) is made from field beans, chick peas or any combination of the two. The Egyptian variation exclusively uses fava beans, while other variations may exclusively use chick peas. What makes falafel different from many other bean patties is the beans are not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked, possibly skinned, then ground with other ingredients and deep fried. Recent culinary trends are to use chickpea falafel over the fava bean falafel. Chickpea falafels are served across the Middle East.