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DRIED FAVA BEANS: Ful Mudammas, a traditional Egyptian dip

Ful Mudammas

Often called just Ful, this dried fava bean dish is considered the national dish of Egypt.  Ful, pronounced “fool”, literally means fava bean.  An Arabic saying captures the versatility of ful mudammas;  it is “the rich man’s breakfast, the shopkeeper’s lunch, and the poor man’s supper.”  The basic recipe is ful beans, cooked until tender, mashed then mixed with olive oil and seasonings, typically lemon juice and cumin.  The mashed beans are often served garnished with slices of hard-boiled egg and accompanied by pita bread. 

This recipe makes a very large amount… cut the portions in half for a smaller feast.

The Ingredients:

4 cups of dried fava beans, or about 2 pounds – soaked overnight and pre-boiled

1 large onion, chopped fine or in thin slices

a half head of garlic, chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin, or whole seeds freshly ground in a mortar and pestle

1 cup olive oil

½ cup lemon juice

green onions, chopped

fresh parsley, cilantro, and/or mint, chopped rough or fine, to taste

salt and pepper to taste

a couple tomatoes, diced

1 cayenne (optional), finely chopped 

The Process:

1.  Cover the beans with water and soak for at least 12 hours.  Soaking increases the beans’ digestibility and makes removing the outer peel much, much easier.  After 12 hours, or overnight, drain, rinse, and sit down to pop the beans out of their shell.  This is easily done by gently squeezing each bean or by using a paring knife.  Once peeled, boil till soft, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes.  Avoid totally mushing them as you want the final dish to have some texture.  Drain the beans.

2. Saute the onion, garlic, pepper, cumin and coriander in half of the olive oil.  Turn down the heat and add the beans to the pan, stirring all the ingredients together.

3. Mash the beans in the pan with a potato masher.  In Africa they use the bottom of a coke bottle (we read).  Improvise!

4. Add lemon juice, the remaining ½ cup olive oil, and tomatoes and cook gently for a few more minutes.

5. Incorporate your green onions, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.

6. Ful Mudammas can be served warm or room temperature, garnished with sliced hard-boiled egg, and served with pickles and pita bread.  (By the way, our wheat makes great pitas!)

Yummmmm!

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