Ful (فول) which translates to beans is a staple in every Arab household. Mine included. Growing up this dish (Ful, Ful Medames, Fuul Mudammas) was my mom’s go-to dish for those evenings where she did not feel like cooking a lavish meal (I know, the audacity!). I have memories of eating this at least once a week with khoobus (Arabic pita bread), and nuggets and fries. Yes, you read that correctly, we used to also have Ful with nuggets and fries. You can’t get more ethnic-Candian fusion than that. As children we liked Ful, but it became more appealing when served with chicken strips and my mom’s homemade fries.
This Ful recipe, as with any Arab recipe (or even Indian for that matter), is going to be different. Not all Ful is made the same. And that is totally okay. The beauty of Ful is that it is a dish that contains one simple ingredient, fava beans, while the rest of the additions to the Ful recipe will differ from household to household. The Ful recipe I am sharing with you today comes from my mama and she got this recipe from my Aunts back home in the Middle East. Since Ful is a staple in the Middle East, ingredients vary from region to region. The recipe I have today is one that is reminiscent of the Gulf.
I cannot express how tasty this meal is. In Egypt, it is a staple for breakfast and there are even street vendors that have long line-ups quite early in the morning with people queueing to grab some Ful and khubz before heading off to work. I quite enjoy making this dish for dinner (like my mama) and eating the leftovers for breakfast. In any case, I guarantee that Ful will be one of your go-to dishes that you can whip up in no time at all!
Growing up my mom would always tell me that “ful is the poor man’s food.” Packed with loads of protein and fibre fava beans are a humble ingredient with a mighty punch. Don’t believe me? Check out 2011 Mark Weins going glossy-eyed over ful. Even Vice thinks ful can be the greatest hangover cure. You will have to test that out for yourself!
In any case not only is Ful delicious, but it is also super easy to make. You can make this entire recipe from start to finish (including prep and clean-up) in less than 20-minutes. How easy is that? Very easy. Why even ask that? However, because this dish requires very little ingredients, as always, it is important to use fresh ingredients. Canned fava beans are the basis, though some Egyptians might argue the stuff North American’s get in the store isn’t “true Ful”. Listen to me – don’t listen to them 😉 the canned variety is fine. I use a small tin of chopped tomatoes, though you can use one large or two small ripe tomatoes (just chop them up). Finally, I sprinkle lemon to add some of that tartness. However, be sure not to squeeze TOO much lemon otherwise you end up with very acidic tasting Ful. I speak from experience LOL. Start with a little squeeze then add more to taste. If you just glazed over this part, don’t worry, I will have all of this listed in the notes section of the recipe 🙂
creamy fava beans. fresh parsley. olive oil.
creamy fava beans with olive oil and parsley, served with toasted pita bread.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and saute them till they are golden brown. Add the garlic and continue to saute until both the onions and garlic are brown. Make sure your onions are golden brown people. I am talking Mediterranean tanned, as this is where you get the flavour!
Add the ginger and tomatoes and give it a stir. Allow the mixture to cook until you see the olive oil settling on top of the tomatoes (this makes more sense when you see it happen in front of you trust me). Add the fava beans, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the frying pan with a lid. Allow the fava bean mixture to cook for 5-7 minutes. Check to see if the fava beans are soft. Once the beans are soft, using the back of a wooden spoon (or a potato masher), begin to mash the fava beans. You want it to be creamy. Continue to incorporate the mashed fava beans with the tomato mixture. Add the lemon. Stir and taste. Add the salt and pepper accordingly to taste.
Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top as well as a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately with warm pita bread. The Ful can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can either eat it warm or cold. I prefer to re-heat the Ful and eat it for breakfast the next day.
Help! I squeezed too much lemon and now my Ful is way too tart.
Girl I feel you. I did the same thing. Do not fear! Here are three ways to troubleshoot this.
1. Add a splash of cold water. Stir and taste. Add some more water till the tartness has disappeared. Be sure to cook the ful until the water has evaporated though.
2. Add a pinch of sugar and taste.
3. Add a TINY pinch of baking soda. I ended up doing this after the other two methods failed to correct the flavour.
As an aside, the Ful will taste better the next day once the flavours have had time to settle. So worst case you end up eating it the next day!
Hey. My Ful isn't creamy what can I do?
Add a tiny splash of water or olive oil and continue to mash it.
I'm too lazy to mash my Ful can I eat it like that?
Yes, babe. You do you. Eat the Ful however you please.