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Egyptian Fava Bean Stew – Fuul

Fuul, or Ful, or Ful Medames, or Ful Medammes, or Fuul, or Ful Mudammas

Cuisine: Egyptian
Region: Common

The Egyptian Fava Bean Stew or Fuul as a staple food is probably as old as Egypt. There are many variations (of course). We present an ultra-classic Fuul recipe as a basis – and then you’re free to change the flavour and/or add the topings of your choice.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: +60 min
You need: a pot or saucepan or skillet and a mixing bowl
Notes: requires soaking overnight

Ingredients

Basis

  • 2 cups small dried fava beans
  • 2 Tsp baking soda (for dried beans only)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp ground coriander
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Choice of Toppings

  1. Chopped tomatoes, a generous dash of olive oil and chopped parsley on top.
  2. Extra lemon wedges, chopped onion, sliced cucumber, chopped green pepper, fresh mint and/or one hard-boiled egg per person.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Take a pot, put the dry fava beans in it, add 6 cups of water and 2 Tsp of baking soda and let them soak for anywhere between 12hrs and 24hrs. (The more you soak them, the better.)
  2. Feel free to change the water when/if you remember doing it. Changing the water helps in getting rid of the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients more effectively.
  3. When soaked enough, empty the water and rinse them with cold water.

Cooking

  1. Take a pot or a saucepan and empty the fava beans in it.
  2. Cover with fresh water.
  3. Turn the fire on, bring to a boil, and then lower the fire to minimum.
  4. Simmer for about 1 hour or until the beans are soft enough to mash.
  5. Give it a stir from time to time and add more (hot) water if necessary.
  6. occasionally and add more water if necessary.
  7. While the fava beans are simmering, take a bowl and mix in the pressed garlic, the cumin, the lemon juice, and about 2/3 of a Tsp of salt.
  8. When the fava beans are ready remove them from the pot or saucepan and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Do not discard the water, you might need it a bit later.
  9. Mash some of the the beans with a fork or pestle. You want some of them mashed and some of them in tact.
  10. Add the lemon juice mixture into the mixing bowl and stir, gently.
  11. Add more fava bean water if necessary. You want the beans wet but not soupy.
  12. Time for adjustments: taste the mixture and add more lemon juice or salt if think it needs it.
  13. The Fuul is now ready. Transfer it to a serving dish and add the toppings. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Variations

Once you have the basis of the Fuul ready you can turn that basis to a new dish or side.

Here’s how:

  • Add the desired amount of Fuul in a saucepan.
  • Add 2-3 Tbsp of water.
  • Mix in the ingredients of your chosen variation.
  • Heat the mixture through over low fire.

Note: the measurements below are per cup of Fuul.

Spicy Tomato Fuul

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tsp. harissa paste OR 1/2 Tsp. chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Tahini Fuul

  • 1 Tbsp tahini paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • Chopped parsley

Curry Fuul

  • 1 +1/2 Tsp. curry powder
  • 1 clove garlic, mince
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped

Butter Fuul

  • 1-2 Tbsp butter
  • Important note: Egyptians traditionally use a local butter called ‘zebda baladi’ . (See Notes, below.) A good substitute to that is butter made from sheep/goat milk.

Sides

  • Sweet tea
  • Arabic bread or Pitta bread with an extra drizzle of olive oil on top . If you’re making Butter Fuul use an extra pat of butter instead of olive oil.

Notes on the Egyptian Fava Bean Stew – Fuul

  • Zebda Baladi is a special kind of butter they make in Egypt and it is distinctly different from the butter we know in other places in the world. More information on Zebda Baladi, here.
  • Fuul can be a main dish, or a side dish to something else. If you intend to cook Fuul as a side dish feel free to scale the recipe down.
  • Canned fava beans do not need soaking and take something like… 10 minutes to cook. The downside is their generally bland taste, so, you may need to exercise your seasoning skills when/if you cook with canned fava beans.