I thought that market shelves would have more consistent food stock by now, but sadly that is not the case in my neighborhood. If there is ever a nutritional staple that can get you through tough financial times and food insecurity, it might very well be the overlooked fava bean. During this Covid-19 crisis when market aisles were as barren as the Sahara desert, fava beans have come to my rescue, which is why I am featuring them in Part 2 of my Cheap Quarantine Eats. When proteins and vegetables are no where to be found, fava beans can give you a lot of nutrition in one swoop. These beans are rich in folate, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium as well as 13 grams grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber per serving.
Fortunately not too many people know what fava beans are or how to use them, so it will be easier to get your hands on them. Now you will learn how to use favas so you can reap the benefits of this legume during this quarantine and beyond. Arabs have been cooking with these beans for centuries, as the people of the Ancient Near East began to cultivate them during the Bronze age, (3300-1200 BC). Favas are similar to lima beans, only much larger with a starchier texture and more complex flavor that pairs well with herbs and spices.
The most popular preparation of fava beans in the Middle East is called Ful Mudammas. I personally like the Ful spelling over the Foul one that I have seen in some publications. No one likes to eat foul beans so I am sticking with ful! Ful mudammas originated in Egypt, but every Levantine country from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria prepare this dish with their own flair. Some add cumin and jalapeno, while others might add onions and extra lemon juice. Regardless of which preparation, a heavy dose of extra virgin olive oil not only adds a rich flavor, but helps the body absorb all those fat soluble vitamins and minerals. In my video I did not include cumin and garlic because that is how my father prefers it, but feel free to add those ingredients if you wish and I have included them in the ingredients list below. This dish is basically the Arab interpretation of refried beans and you can check out my new video on it below, where I not only share the recipe, but create a Palestinian style picnic to turn a mundane quarantine day into a special one:
Arabs tend to eat ful mudammas for breakfast with a side of eggs, pickles, and bread, as the dish satisfies the tummy with complex carbs and plant protein for many hours. While the west might think it’s odd to eat beans for breakfast, the nutritional profile far surpasses oatmeal–and legumes give sustained energy without the insulin spikes of a sweeter breakfast. However, you can eat this dish any time of day, and ful makes a great starchy side dish with any meal.
I decided to take some extra time shooting, writing, and editing this video, as I had too much on my mind that I wanted to share with viewers in these unprecedented times. Sorry if this video has a melancholic undertone, it just reflects my vibe right now. I do want to do a more upbeat live stream to lift the spirits before the month is over, so if there are any shout outs, comments, or topics you want me to share please let me know in the comments below!
- 1 can fava beans (with water)
- ½ bunch curly leaf parsley, finely minced
- 4 scallions, finely minced
- 1 jalapeno, finely minced
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- ½ tsp cumin (optional)
- Juice of half lemon (or whole lemon if you like it extra sour)
- ¼ cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
- Finely mince the scallions, parsley, jalapeno and optional garlic and set aside. Pour the fava beans with the water into a skillet, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. If you like the dip a little soupier add more water as you simmer until you get the consistency that you like. Once done, add the lemon juice, chopped herbs and vegetables, optional cumin and mix. Drizzle more olive oil on top before serving, and add garnishes of pickles, tomatoes, olives, and even hard boiled eggs if serving for breakfast.