The Middle East has been on my mind. Not the Middle East you see on the news every night (though not denying the reality of it over there), but the place that I considered my second home for much of my life: Jordan, and we’ll be visiting this summer!
One of the things I miss most about Jordan is the food. Much of what I crave is food I don’t eat anymore (or do I? Would I?) like chicken shawarma, but there is also so much amazing vegetarian fare. The photo above from my parents’ dining table depicts a pretty traditional Jordanian breakfast, all of which is meat-free: hummus, baba ghannoush, pita bread, falafel, eggs, fried tomatoes, olives, fruit, zaatar, and labneh (“yogurt cheese”). Most to be expected but one that gets a little attention despite its more flavorful composition: ful medames (also called foule, or foule madammas), a bean dip like hummus, but made with fava beans instead of garbanzo beans.
Also known as a broad bean, fava beans allegedly originated in the Mediterranean in countries like Egypt, Italy, and Greece, where they are still farmed and harvested today, growing in long, green pods that can each span almost a foot in length. Fava beans are super high in protein, fiber, and B12, which makes them a vegetarian and vegan’s ideal kind of food.
Like garbanzo beans, fresh fava beans aren’t as easy to find as the canned variety (pictured above), the latter of which you’ll want for this recipe. You can find canned fava beans in most grocery stores in the canned vegetable aisle.
To make this fava bean dip, you’ll need:
- Fava beans: Two 16 ounce cans
- Garlic: As much as you like. I like a little more garlic, so for this recipe I minced five cloves.
- Lemon juice: Two tablespoons or to taste.
- Red onion: 1/4 cup diced.
- Tomato: One whole tomato, chopped.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin. One tablespoon.
- Salt: To taste.
- Parsley: About two tablespoons.
- Tahini: OPTIONAL. If you want your dip more creamy, you can add one tablespoon.
- Cumin: OPTIONAL. For additional flavor, add one to two teaspoons of cumin spice.
This recipe is so easy, it’s madness. Unlike its hummus relative, you do not need a blender.
- First, in a medium pot of hot water, boil your fava beans for about five minutes until they soften to the touch. You’ll know they are ready when you can pinch a bean and it flattens, but don’t over-boil so that the beans actually start falling apart in the pot.
- Remove the pot from stove and pour the beans into a colander. Let sit until the water has drained.
- Move the beans into a medium sized bowl. With a potato masher or utensil of your choice, gently mash the beans to a consistency you desire. Traditionally, you’ll want to keep the beans about half-smashed and half-whole.
- If using tahini, stir the tahini into the beans until evenly distributed.
- Add the lemon juice and salt (and cumin if you desire) to the beans and stir well.
- Mix in the tomatoes, garlic, red onions, and parsley.
- Transfer the dip into a bowl and drizzle the olive oil on top of the dip.
- Garnish with sprigs of parsley and onions and tomatoes if you desire.
- Enjoy cold, warm, or room temperature with with warm pita or pita chips. This dip will stay great in an air tight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Make it a meal: serve the ful medames with a few pieces of falafel and sliced cucumber. You can even make it a sandwich: spoon two tablespoons of the foul into a pita, add three cut up-pieces of falafel, toss in some veggies and throw some hot sauce on top. The good life, I tell ya!
Did you try ful in this recipe for the first time? What did you think?
Photo of fresh fava beans courtesy of fitnesskites.com.