My Mom’s Falafel and Sesame-Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

Mother’s day is approaching so I think this is an appropriate time to post my mother’s awesome falafel and yogurt sauce recipe. Because my mom’s falafel are awesome. She uses green split peas instead of chickpeas to make the falafel balls which is pretty unique in America’s falafel-land (although I think using split peas is more common when making falafel in India or other parts of the world) and her yogurt sauce kicks butt. Its got cucumber, toasted sesame seeds and bread (WHAT?, yah I said bread) which make it fresh, creamy, and thick.

I grew up eating falafel her way and when I first had a non-mom falafel my taste-buds were not ready for it. Since then I have grown to love many different types of falafel, but I still think my mom’s recipe rocks the house. I changed it up a bit by adding garlic (because she really doesn’t like garlic and I LOVE it) and tandoori powder in the falafel mix. The yogurt sauce got kicked up a notch with some garlic too (sorry mom!) and cayenne pepper. We are eating this for dinner tonight with a full falafel fixin’s bar including hummus, feta cheese, pickles and a tomato/cucumber/onion salad. I can’t wait for dinner!


I start by soaking the falafel overnight and then prepping it to puree.


I asked my mom if it was really necessary to soak overnight which seemed annoying to me, but she assured me it was (I didn’t test out whether she is wrong)

I puree the split peas with all the other ingredients in a food processor and add some whole split peas at the end.


The whole split peas give it crunch. I really love the addition of tandoori masala in this recipe too.

Then its time to fry up the falafel. You could bake them, but sorry I didn’t.


I tried one and they were delicious. Totally perfect for a falafel sandwich.

Then I start the sauce by toasting the sesame seeds.


I love toasted sesame seeds in everything these days.

I get all the ingredients ready for the sauce so its easy to get in the food processor.


Is bread a common ingredient in sauce? Its weird but great.

After pureeing, the sauce is ready!


I almost forgot to add in the cucumber which would have made me sad

We are making falafel sandwiches tonight with lots of toppings but you could just dunk these balls into the sauce and eat as an app or an unhealthy snack 🙂


Prep time: 30 minutes   Cook time: 20 minutes


For falafel: 

  • One cup green split peas, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • Half of a jalapeno pepper, chopped (or green chili pepper if you have it)
  • Half of a red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tandoori powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For yogurt sauce: 

  • 1/2 cup yogurt (use any kind you like, I didn’t use greek but it would work great here)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 slice of of bread (I used wheat, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup water


Falafel – makes about 15 medium-sized falafel balls 

  1. Soak the green split peas overnight. The next day, remove any excess water and rinse the split peas a few times. Set aside 1/4 cup of the whole split peas.
  2. In the food processor, put in the split peas, ginger paste, jalapeno pepper, red onion, garlic and puree. Add in the salt, tandoori powder and paprika and pour in water slowly until the mixture is slightly wet but can still be formed into balls.
  3. Remove the mixture and put in a bowl. Add the reserved split peas that were not blended into the mix.
  4. Heat up vegetable oil for frying the falafel in a wok (medium-high heat).
  5. Take about 2 tablespoons of the falafel mixture and form into a ball and put in the wok for frying. You can probably do about 6 or 7 at a time. Deep fry for about 2-3 minutes until the ball becomes golden-brown. Continue until all falafel balls are fried.

Sesame-Cucumber-Yogurt sauce – makes about 1 cup of sauce 

  1. Toast the sesame seeds in small pan with no oil, until golden-brown (3-4 minutes on medium heat)
  2. In a food processor, put in the yogurt, jalapeno pepper, ginger, salt and cayenne and cucumber and puree.
  3. Add in small pieces of the bread as the sauce is being mixed. Also add in the garlic powder.
  4. Slowly pour water into the food processor so that the consistency is still thick but saucy.
  5. Taste-test and add salt or additional cayenne as needed.

8 thoughts on “My Mom’s Falafel and Sesame-Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

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