Last summer I was in an Arabic restaurant and tasted ful (pronounced ‘fool’) for the first time and made a note to myself to try to replicate this at home. I had almost forgotten about it until I was discussing hummus with my nephew, John, because it’s one of his favourite foods and this involves mashed beans as well. I had a feeling he would love these ingredients with the spicy kick.
Many of you may not have heard of this dish – I certainly hadn’t. This is an Egyptian/Sudanese recipe of cooked and mashed fava beans served with a variety of sides such as onion, tomatoes, lemons, parsley, garlic, cucumbers and yogurt. This dish is also spelled ‘foul’ but I didn’t want readers new to this recipe pronouncing it the way it’s spelled!
This is very flavourful and such a welcome treat to the taste buds. I love experiencing foods from around the world and this was no exception. I had never tasted fava beans until last summer and loved the combination of cumin, smoked paprika, olive oil, tomatoes and parsley. You can buy fresh beans or canned (I went for canned to keep the recipe under 30 minutes). Ful can be served in lettuce cups, with rice, or naan. If you serve it with something different, I’d love to hear about it! I diced some onion and red pepper as condiments and they blended perfectly.
Fava beans are loaded with nutrition. They have no saturated fat or cholesterol and contain a high concentration of thiamin, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc and magnesium. They are also an inexpensive source of lean protein. A serving of fresh or cooked fava beans can significantly increase your intake of folate, iron, manganese and dietary fiber. There are only 299 calories in one cup of fava beans. All great reasons to step out of your comfort zone and try this dish!
People who eat this regularly might object to my adding vegetable stock but I wanted to avoid the high salt levels in the liquid from the canned beans. If you prefer a more tomato-ey flavour, you can add some tomato sauce instead.
Ful medames would be a good addition to a party at any time of the year. Your friends will be impressed with your knowledge of diverse recipes and you won’t have to tell them it only required a half hour to prepare! Cheers.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 14 ounce can of fava beans (organic, if possible)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- juice from 1 lemon
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup organic vegetable broth
- 1 tomato, chopped
- olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- OPTIONS (for sides)
- mint, red pepper, onion, lemons, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, cucumber, pitas, naan.
- Drain and rinse fava beans
- Mash 1/2 of the beans with a fork. (mashing will give the dish a thicker consistency)
- Heat olive oil in medium sized skillet on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add beans, cumin, paprika, lemon and salt, mixing well and cook for 5 minutes on medium. During this time you might want to add the vegetable broth or more olive oil if it is too dry. Add your choice of liquid slowly until reaching the desired consistency.
- Serve with chopped tomatoes and parsley, drizzling olive oil on top. See options for additional choices for sides.