Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Egyptian Foul (sounds like "fool")
Sometime last year I learned to make a delicious middle-eastern dish called Foul. Full name - Foul Mudammas. It is a fava bean stew, and my Egyptian friends traditionally eat it for breakfast. It's fairly simple and quick to prepare and the result is a hearty, aromatic, protein-packed snack or even a full meal.
I find cans of fava beans at my local middle-eastern market for only 79 cents a can, but I believe they can be found in the foreign/exotic section of most supermarkets. It is traditionally eaten by hand with toasted or warmed pita bread...
Here is the recipe:
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 15 oz. can Fava Beans
2 tspn. ground cumin
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, minced
1/2 medium tomato, chopped
a dash of sea salt* optional
pita bread (most brands are vegan - check the label)
Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a small pot, then add onions and cook 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook til lightly browned and onions are translucent. Open the can of fava beans and pour out 1/3 of the liquid. Add the beans and remaining liquid to the pot. Put half of the parsley in the pot and cover - bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take the lid off and boil uncovered for a few minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. (personal preference varies over how soupy or chunky foul should be - I like mine with most of the liquid gone) At this point stir in the cumin and then turn off the heat. Using a fork or masher, mash roughly 2/3 of the beans in the pot. Add some more olive oil, most of the remaining parsley, juice from half of the lemon, add the tomatoes and mix together in the pot. Add the remaining olive oil and parsley on top along with some more lemon juice, and you are done!
Transfer to a bowl, add a dash of sea salt if you wish, and keep a lemon wedge on hand to squeeze on top as you like. Toast your pita bread and enjoy!
A humorous side note: My good friend Omar taught me how to prepare Egyptian Foul. After I started making it on my own I would tease him about how good mine was, and after some playful jabbing back and forth we decided to have a "Foul-Off." A classic teacher vs. pupil matchup in the kitchen. April was just around the corner, so we naturally we settled on April Fool's Day!
We found a panel of judges - two middle-eastern dudes with plenty of Foul experience and one American girl who had lived in Egypt. The mood was festive and the kitchen was smelling good. After a long, drawn out nail-biter at the judge's table, the results were in: I smoked his ass! We all had a good laugh and mine will forever be known as "award-winning Foul."