Monday, February 25, 2008

Fool Medamis - Egyptian Style Fava Beans

This nutritious vegetarian dish is the most common meal eaten in Egypt on a daily basis. Most Egyptians eat fava beans as the main course for at least one meal per day. The versatility of the bean makes it good for breakfast with eggs, or spicy for supper.

The beans have a delicious full body taste and leaves you completely satisfied. Fava beans are very high in protein and make an excellent meat substitute, while being one of the most flavorful foods known to man, or woman.

In Egypt it is common to purchase ready made fava bean sandwiches at small traditional restaurants. Yes, fava beans are the original fast food. The same corner stands sell felafel sandwiches, which are also a nutritious vegetarian meal.

Fava beans are commonly eaten with bread. Some people like to scoop them up with small pieces of Syrian bread, while others prefer to eat them in a sandwich. I prefer the sandwich version because it allows me to combine all the tastes of the vegetables and sauces in one package.

I like to serve the fava beans as pictured below with a nice assortment of fresh vegetables and a Tahina Bakdoonisiya , which is a sesame parsley dipping sauce. I published the recipe for the Tahina separately. You can also serve it with hommus for a more substantial alternative.

Medamis is the past tense of the process that the beans are cooked with. They are slow cooked over very low heat. However, you will not need to do this since the great thing about fava beans is that the canned variety is very good. At a later date I will show you how to make them from dry beans, but this recipe assumes that you use canned beans. The canned beans are convenient, economical, and taste very good.

Serves : 4 People along with the side dishes and bread.

  • 1 16 ounce can of fava beans. I find both Cedar and Sahadi brands to have authentic flavor and good quality.
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsley and/or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian or Ethiopian Paprica
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 Large Lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Side Dishes:
  • 1 ripe tomato, slices
  • 1 Armenian cucumber
  • 6 oz of fresh arugula
  • 6-10 radishes
  • Tahina Bakdoonisiya Dipping Sauce
  • 4 loaves of Syrian bread or fresh baked French bread
  • Feta Cheese (optional)

  1. Finely chop the parsley and slice the green onion
  2. Place the beans in a saucepan, add the paprika and 3/4 of the garlic.
  3. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
  4. Use a colander to drain the beans.
  5. Place the beans in a mixing bowl. Add the scallions, parsley, cumin coriander and the rest of the garlic. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the juice of one large fresh lime.
    • Hint : press the lime down on the counter with your hand and roll back and forth. this will make it easier to squeeze and gets more juice.
  7. Add the olive oil. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Serve in an attractive dish with the vegetables, Tahina dip and bread.

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Anna said...

How many ounces should the can of fava beans be?

River Whiskey said...

A 16 ounce can should fill the bill nicely.

jon greenbaum said...

I am using canned fava beans. Do I need to shell them?

jon greenbaum said...

I am using canned fava beans. Do I have to shell them?

River Whiskey said...

It is not necessary to shell the canned beans, in fact I prefer not to. The shell is generally soft. There will be some loose shells and you can remove those. Remember that the shell will be rich in fiber and nutrients, so you want it in your diet.

One of the Egyptian varieties of fava beans is called Madhoos, where you shell the beans and mash them up. You can make that with the same flavoring as this recipe.