Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ful Medames: An Attempt

We love eating at restaurants that serve Middle Eastern cuisine; the menus are usually predictable but we love the line-up of creamy hummus, luscious baba ghanouj, crispy falafel and the rest of the mezze. A few weeks ago, I was happy to taste something new at a local restaurant (reviewed here) - ful medames, curried fava beans; excellent for sopping up with warm pitas.

On my last trip to the international store, I decided to buy a small bag of fava beans:

Today, I tried making Recipe #39: ful medames in my own kitchen (after soaking and pressure cooking them), using this recipe (doesn't it look good??) as my inspiration. With only a handful of ingredients- onion, garlic, tomato, cayenne pepper, zatar spice- this is what I got.


The verdict: The taste was wonderful, so the inspiring recipe is spot on, but I think I used the wrong kind of fava beans. These had skins that were too leathery and the insides were not quite plump enough. Perhaps I should use canned fava beans or skinless ones. So this one goes into the "try, try again" pile.

If anyone has experience with fava beans or a favorite way to make ful medames, please leave me a note- thanks!

See you tomorrow night with another recipe :)


  1. Another winner! I make desi style rajma-esque daals with Fava beans and also cook fresh/cooked fava beans with kale as a dry bhaji with a phodni of mustard seeds, urad dal and hing. As for the dried fava beans, i do feel that i always need to overcook fava beans. Canned beans give instant gratification though ;).

  2. I've never made ful medames, but this sounds tempting!

    Have you ever made your own pita bread? If not, do try! It's really really good.

  3. My stomach started growling for food as soon as I saw your dish. I love anything with beans. I've never used fava beans, have to look for them now. Ful medames looks absolutely delicious.

  4. Any recipe that I've seen involving fava beans says to slip off the skins after soaking and before cooking.

  5. This looks delicious. Fava beans have been on my to try list for a long time. I had a Persian rice dish at my friend's house, it was biryani like and with fava beans sprinkled in, buttery and delicious.

  6. love this recipe! i have cooked with canned brown fava beans but not the dried ones. sounds very appetizing!

  7. Oh and i have a really good recipe recommendation for you, Nupur-you are totally going to love it. Do try the savory semolina cake from TBC's blog! I have made it quite a few times already and am always delighted by how rewarding this simple dish is!

  8. Hey Nupur,

    Ur theme of trying 40 recipes until the dawn of 2010 is simply incredible!! Kudos to you for being so creative and innovative at the same time. I am looking forward to all ur recipes, so tht i can try out some unusual stuff. I know i can always find something "hatke" in ur blog...all the best

  9. The canned ones are softer and might be less time consuming to cook with. I tried flava beans once when I got them as a packet of soup mix. The soup mix was basically a combination different pulses. I chucked everything into a pressure cooker and cooked it like plain dal.

  10. suring my NJ days, I recollect buying fava beans thinking those are Kadve vaal :(
    and thought this is what you get in US !!

    Never tried them later.

  11. If you have some dry fava beans left over try adding just a very small pinch of baking powder. It breaks down fiber bonds and in turn softens the skin without having to remove it.

    Also, I would try a slow cooker on them.

    I have never used baking soda in my beans as the broadest I go is as far as rajma and as you know overnight soak is all they need. The other thing with baking powder is that if overused it has a funny feel in the mouth.

  12. Nupur,
    I have always looked for the canned Foul Mudammas... you can find them in most grocery stores.
    The brands that sell it are Sahadi, Sadaf, and Ziyad.
    Cook just like cooking Rajma. I would cook it in a pot (instead of pressure cooker).


  13. Nupur, I've tried a similar recipe for ful medames with fresh fava beans, and it was phenomenal, although it took almost an entire evening to prep. I bought a bag of dry favas just last weekend - I'll let you know if I have any luck with those!

  14. Nupur do you mind if I copy your theme of "40 nights of cooking" only now mine wont be 40, may be say 25 days or something- I really like the idea!

  15. Fern- Thanks for pointing that out- it was not mentioned on the cooking directions of the package these beans came in.

    indosungod- That's the thing- fava beans are so buttery but these had more skin than buttery insides! I'll find better ones next time. Persian rice dishes are to die for!!

    maninas- I have made pita bread once or twice, but not recently. Maybe I'll try it again in the coming weeks :)

    musical- I'll be trying canned beans next time :) and thanks a lot for the recommendation- I'll be trying the semolina cake one of these days!

    Pavani- LOL the tummy rumbling is a side-effect of food-blog surfing! I am a big fan of beans too.

    PJ- I'll be trying the canned ones next! They seem to be more reliable :)

    Nikhil- You're right, I should try the canned ones to see how I like them.

    Anonymous- That's a great idea- I'll try the baking powder, thanks. I don't own a slow cooker so I can't try that.

    Raakhee- Hi there :) LOL I hope I can come up with some fun things to try in the coming weeks.

    Kanchan- Hmm, these beans all look alike sometimes :)

    Radnus- Thanks, will look for the canned ones!

    Chaitanya- Fresh fava beans, eh? I can just imagine how awesome they must have been. Yes, please give me reviews of your dried fava beans once you try them!

    RARA AVIS- Oh, absolutely, go for it, you don't have to ask me! Good luck with your recipe marathon :)

  16. Hi Nupur I have been following your blog since two years (ever since i left my moms place and started cooking for myself and hubby)
    your recipes are really wonderful and so are your posts about your puppy. This recipe looks really tempting too. Im defintely trying it out.

  17. You should try Momos, of my favorite places in St.Louis.

  18. There seem to be 2 different kinds of Fava beans, large and small. I have only seen the small kind used in Ful Medames. The skin may be softer than the large ones. The ones in the picture are the large kind.


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