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Apr 24, 2013 01:02 AM

Ful Medames Recipes / w Split Fava Beans

I have some Split Fava Beans that I was thinking of trying to cook Ful Medames with.

a) If I use Split beans I guess its going to end up quite mushy / paste like - Is that bad?

b) This Guardian recipe includes a full can of Tomato Passata that seems very wrong to me.

c) A lot of the other recipes I've seen include red lentils. Is that correct?

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  1. If you use split beans you will end up with a fava mash, which is typical ful in some regions.

    The passata seems out of place for an Egyptian recipe, but would be at home in a Lebanese ful. The Lebanese and Palestinians might also add chickpeas. Egyptians might add lentils as you suggest. Personally I like ful with just fava beans, spicing it with Aleppo pepper, cumin and coriander along with fresh herbs, tomato and lemon juice.

    1. The secret ingredient in my ful is Rao's marinara.

      I fry garlic, add tomato paste and fry for a moment, then a pinch of cumin and red chile powder, the add in the washed canned ful, salt, and a little bit of water, then I mash with a potato masher, stirring and stirring, then I add in the Rao's and let it stew for a little while. Stir in a little lemon juice at the end, plus some black pepper. Garnish with olive oil and chopped tomatoes.

      I've never seen red lentils in ful. (Not saying no one does it, just never seen it.)

      The Guardian recipe looks a bit fancy to me with all of the sweet spices and a pinch of sugar. But there is a lot of variety in how people make it. Some people use onions, some don't. Some would say can is a no-no, gotta rehydrate dried beans and cook till they cream. Some people even remove the skins before mashing. Simplest options for seasoning would be lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. But I like the slightly tomatoey kind that has a pinch of red chile powder in it.

      8 Replies
      1. re: luckyfatima

        you must be kidding?
        "Rao’s Marinara Sauce" in Ful Medames?

        - I don't do "recombinant cooking"

        - and secondly you realise that that sauce has PORK in it?

        which makes it seem especially out of place in ful medames.

        1. re: echoclerk

          Wow. Where to start?

          Canned tomato sauce and tomato paste are staples in the Egyptian home kitchen. I like Rao's and use that instead of canned tomato sauce in fuul.

          Not everyone puts tomato in their fuul, but some people even put three types of tomato: fresh, paste, and canned. Fuul is made and served in quite a variety of ways.

          Actually, the traditional large aluminium jug shaped fuul making vessels at fuul stalls don't have tomato in the fuul because the acidity in the tomato supposedly reacts with the aluminium. (I wonder if it was originally made in a clay vessel?) But they do typically garnish with fresh tomato or slightly cooked down fresh tomato when the fuul is served.

          However, lots of home cooks do use tomato and tomato products in their fuul. Tomato sauce is not an odd ingredient in fuul by any means. Sure, Rao's has a little oregano and basil in it, but that doesn't affect the over all flavor of the fuul. Using Rao's gives that Rao's tomatoey richness.

          In between now and the time this post was made, I actually did happen to ask an Egyptian foodie friend about lentils in fuul. She told me some people use lentils or even rice in their fuul. There are many, many varieties. You can put tahineh on it, chopped egg, fried egg, add samna (Arabic version of ghee or clarified butter), or many other things.

          As for the pork thing, I doubted that since it is not listed in the ingredients on the label, but just to make sure, I called Rao's at the number on their website, 1-800-homemade, and asked on the phone about that. The person I spoke to assured me that there is no pork or meat products used in the production of their jarred marinara sauce. I am presuming the link you have posted is a recipe for replicating the sauce as they serve it in their restaurant, and not the recipe for what you can buy in a jar.

          I am no expert in Egyptian cooking, but I did study in Egypt (and ate fuul pretty much every day during that time period), have been there multiple times, speak Arabic, lived in the Middle East for 8 years, and have plenty of Egyptian and Egyptian American friends, and being a foodie, I do make it a point to learn about the cuisines of the people and places I get to know. I've eaten plenty of Egyptian food in people's homes and in Egyptian restaurants, and do cook some Egyptian dishes at home. I didn't give you a BS answer. Once again, I don't claim to be an expert, but I wouldn't have answered your query if I had no clue what I was talking about. I just explained how I make fuul at home.

          1. re: echoclerk

            The salt pork in the recipe you posted is listed as an optional ingredient (the "opt"). The jarred sauce does not have pork in it.

            The ingredients in the Rao's marinara are the following, per the jar label:
            imported italian tomatoes, imported olive oil, fresh onions, salt, fresh garlic, fresh basil, black pepper, oregano.

            My aunt by marriage (Lebanese) uses tomatoes in her "foul" (her spelling) when they're in season, and tomato products when they're not (which, in New England, is often). She omits red lentils.

            1. re: echoclerk

              Marinara is nothing more than a quick cooked sugo al pomodoro with basil. It is a far better option than out of season tomatoes and no more adulterated than passata. Foul is such a rustic, impoverished dish, trying to make it gourmet seems more contrary to its nature than a few tablespoons of tomato sauce.

                1. re: JungMann

                  I know! Very ironic.

                  I was just going to say that using a tomato sauce made of San Marzano tomatoes does sort of gussy up a very ancient, rustic, so called "peasant" food, a poor man's food, and in urban centers, a classic street food. Some might even say that is a waste of Rao's but I just love Rao's and try to stick it in things that I want to taste richly tomatoey.

                  I mean, I guess you could make fuul more "exclusive" by using extra pricey organic gourmet ingredients.

                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    Rao's is a premium product, but I just can't bring myself to pay $8 for a jar of marinara. Certainly not when my al Wadi foul costs 99 cents.

                    It turns out your marinara-inflected recipe is far more gourmet and high end than the cumin and chili version that I spritz with 50 cent lemon!

                    1. re: JungMann

                      I splurge on Rao's. It's my indulgence. I typically only buy it (lots of it) when it's on sale, though.

          2. i couldn't find the small fava beans locally that are used for ful medames, so i ordered fava beans from Kalustyan's in New York City that were specifically listed on their website as being for ful medames.

            Instead of the brown beans i see in pictures of ful medames, they sent me these small white beans - split I guess. The color was most unappetizing. I soaked them overnight and was going to make them this morning, but got busy and didn't get to them until late this evening. I rinsed them but they smelled awful. I decided to forge ahead.

            The package said cook for 25 to 35 minutes, although most ful recipes I see say to cook for 2 hours.

            I ended up cooking them for 30 minutes and checked and by that time I had a pot full of smelly, horrible looking white mush.

            Into the trash they went.

            Anyone know where I can mail order the right kind of beans?

            And does anyone have any tips on how to prepare ful medames other than what is already listed above?

            10 Replies
            1. re: omotosando

              You ordered split fava beans. What you want is whole fava beans, also called broad beans. You can opt to cook them from their dry state, but they are widely available nationwide in cans which cooks up in minutes.

              1. re: JungMann

                Thanks. It is very annoying since what I ordered on the Kalustyan's website was advertised as ful medames beans and what I was sent was split beans. It is too much trouble to send them back, but I will never order anything from Kalustyan's again.

                The correct kind of beans are impossible to find in my area of Los Angeles. I did find the big brown fava beans at a local ethnic market and made them today, much as you would make ful medames, but I am eager to try it with the correct beans.

                I have been given to understand that a market 40 minutes from me sells them, but I'm not that eager to drive 40 minutes just to buy beans. I am used to buying whatever I want on the Internet, but these are proving more elusive.

                1. re: omotosando

                  This is the brand I use in New Zealand, they have several variants of flavour. Some are a mix of chickpea and broad bean.

                  The price listed on the link is excessive but perhaps you can find this brand cheaper on other sites in the US. Good luck in your hunt.

                  1. re: Frizzle

                    Am I missing a link? I don't see a link?

                    1. re: omotosando


                      These are tinned to so probably not what you are after.

                  2. re: omotosando

                    You want the smaller fava beans, not the larger. This is the brand I used to buy, though I have not purchased them in a while. Where I live now, Al Wadi Al Akhdar and Sahadi's seem to have cornered the local Middle Eastern market.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      JungMann, I went to the Al Wadi Al Akdar website and all I see are canned fava beans. I also went to the Sadaf website. They make the large brown fava beans that I picked up locally. The only other fave beans they had on their website were slightly smaller ones (but still not as small as the pictures I have seen of ful) called yellow fava beans. Those don't look like the right ones either.

                      1. re: omotosando

                        From the Sadaf site, these appears to be the beans you want:

                        1. re: JungMann

                          Yes, but I'm not a fan of tinned beans. I was hoping to find the dry beans.

                          1. re: omotosando

                            i'm with you on that.
                            all canned beans taste tinny and plasticy to me.