For the falafels

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

30 sprigs fresh cilantro

1 small onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

5 tablespoons cornstarch (or wheat flour)

½ cup cornmeal

1 cup vegetable or canola oil, for frying

For the cucumber yogurt sauce

½ cup peeled and chopped cucumbers

5 ounces plain yogurt

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the chickpeas, cilantro, onion, and garlic in a food processor and process until reduced to a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne and flour until well blended.

Heat the oil until very hot. Place the cornmeal in a shallow dish. Shape the mixture into patties and dredge them into the cornmeal. Fry the patties until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Process the cucumbers, yogurt, salt and pepper in a food processor until puréed. If you prefer a more unctuous sauce, mix in a teaspoon of olive oil or mayonnaise.

Serve the falafels hot alongside the cucumber yogurt sauce, some pita bread and tomato slices.

Makes about 8 falafels