Although chickpeas are probably the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when beans and Mediterranean cooking are mentioned, today we’re going to talk about fava beans. Also known as broad beans, fava beans (foul / ful in Arabic) are the main ingredient to a one-pan hearty breakfast staple that you’ll find in every Arab kitchen.
A cheap source of vegetarian protein, foul mudammas has been filling the bellies of hard working families for generations. It is known as the national dish of Egypt, but variations exist across the Arab world. Apparently, “mudammas” is derived from a Coptic word for “buried”, reflecting that the dish used to be slow cooked overnight in copper pots. The first time I had foul it was homemade by a former coworker – and it was a revelatory moment. How could something so simple, made with beans, garlic, and lemon be SO GOOD?! I fell in love with the slightly acidic, nutty, almost cheeselike taste of fava beans. It’s a totally unique flavor, and a must-try if you haven’t had them before.
Luckily Michigan has a plethora of Arab grocery stores to source your fava beans. And, even better, we have a version of foul mudammas that does not need to simmer overnight and can be made in half an hour. Although not traditional, our version is reminiscent of shakshouka with the addition of poached eggs – and is great for brunch. In addition, this recipe is really forgiving – you can add whatever spices or seasonings you like. Try adding onions or onion powder, you can keep it vegetarian or use chicken broth instead of water. Pita bread is a MUST with this recipe, and like many other Arab dishes, can (and probably should) be eaten without forks.
Don’t think twice about beans for breakfast or brunch, give foul a try and let us know what you think! And, if you’re in Southeast Michigan, make sure to check out an Arab bakery or restaurant to try their version – we recommend New Yasmeen Bakery in Dearborn.
- 2 tb olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 15 oz can of fava beans with juice (don't strain)
- ½ cup of water
- ½ pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tb cumin
- Juice and zest of one small lemon
- Dash of hot sauce or a couple chopped chili peppers to taste (optional)
- 4 eggs
- Parsley, for garnish
- Pita, or naan, for serving
In a cast iron skillet (or saucepan), heat the olive oil until shimmering, then add the garlic. Sautee for a minute, then add the can of fava beans, including the juice (don’t strain!). Using a potato masher, lightly mash up the beans and add the water and tomatoes. Stir and add the cumin, lemon juice and zest, and the hot sauce (if using). Let simmer on low for 10-15 min, stirring occasionally, until some of the liquid has evaporated and the flavors meld together.
Finally, make four wells in the foul with the back of a spoon. Crack one egg into each well. Spoon some of the foul mixture on top of the egg whites to help them cook. Cover and simmer on low until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny (about 2-3 minutes). Uncover and garnish with parsley. Serve each portion with pita (or naan), and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 451Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 596mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 9gSugar: 20gProtein: 19g