Ful Mudammes (Ancient Egyptian Fava Beans)
This is a very popular dish across the Middle East, it can be served for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. It can also be an appetizer with pita bread and hummus. There are many ways to serve ful, I'll do my best to cover most of them and tell you which ones are my favorite.
Fava beans "Broad beans" are highly nutritional as they are full of iron, folate, magnesium, fiber, copper, calcium, potassium, and did I mention that they're high in protein?
Fava beans are finally making their way to Western Cuisine. I am starting to see Ful Mudammes on the menu in a few restaurants across the world, I've always wondered why it isn't known around the world because it's SO good. But hey, at least hummus made it!
You can find fava beans in the bulk section at Whole Foods, they are pretty cheap. Otherwise, you can find them at most Middle Eastern grocery stores either dried or canned. I suggested buying them dried, yes it'll take longer to cook, but you can make a very large batch and freeze half of it. In my family, we usually store them in single serve containers so when you want some, you simply just run some warm water on the container, then pop in a saucepan and let it warm up for a few minutes. It'll take a while to make this butttt it's worth it, and it'll save you a lot of time in the next few days/weeks as it keeps very well in the freezer and fridge.
- 2 lbs dried brown fava beans (about 4 cups)
- filtered water
- 2 medium/large onions finely chopped
- 6-8 garlic cloves minced
- 5-6 Roma tomatoes finely chopped
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- cumin (helps with gassiness associated with eating beans)
- sea salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Saudi spice mixture if available Buharat
- Tumeric optional (it's very good for your joints)
- cayenne pepper optional
- Soak the fava beans for an entire day. Yes, an entire day, this will make your fava beans soft from the inside when you cook them. Preferably change the water a few times if you can so your body digest them more efficiently.
- Drain the beans well and boil enough water to cover the beans by about an inch or more (it's better to add more water because you can just dump it later, but if you don't add enough water they'll burn or dry out) when the water starts to boil, add the beans, bring to a boil, lower the heat, let it simmer, partially covered. Let it cook for 3o minutes or until the beans are soft and most of the water is absorbed.
Note: Do not add salt or anything besides beans and water!
Ful Medammes (El Keshna)
This is a tomato, onions, garlic, and spice mixture that we cook with the fava beans, in Saudi we call it el keshna, highly recommended.
- Heat a very large saucepan on medium heat
- Add olive oil and sauté the onions until soft, add garlic, sauté for a minute or two, add the tomatoes and spices (except cumin) sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add the fava beans and mix very well.
- This depends on how juicy your tomatoes are, but if you feel that the mixture is dry add 1/4-1/2 cup of filtered water and mix again.
- Partially cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat
- Garnish with fresh ground cumin.
- You can leave the beans as they are whole. However, it's the least common in the Middle East.
- Mash them a little bit, this method is common in Egypt and Lebanon and it's my favorite. Taste great if you eat it by itself or with warm pita bread.
- Processes the beans completely, this method the most common and is the best if you're going to serve the beans with pita bread and olive oil. Yum.
- Tahini Sauce
- Diced green onions and fresh tomatoes
- Avocado (I came up with this one, it's not traditional, but it's amazinngg, avocado does taste great with almost anything!)
- Chickpeas and parsley
- Olive oil