Smooth, unctuous tehinah, a sauce made from tehini (sesame-seed paste), is a felafel-topping mainstay; every felafel stand in Israel has a bowl or vat of it, along with at least one variety of hot sauce. Well-made tehinah should be fluid but not thin, and should nicely balance bitter, acidic, and garlicky flavors. Stir tehini before using, as the oil will have separated from the paste.

Yield: makes 1 Cup


  • <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> cup tehini
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic, minced
  • <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> tsp. ground cumin (optional)
  • 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • Salt


  1. Whisk together tehini and water in a medium mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Adjust seasonings, adding a little more lemon juice and spices, if you like. Serve with felafel.