Ful medames (Stewed fava beans)

Driving home one day from a cafe, my partner and I noticed a new Middle Eastern market which has opened up in what is fast becoming the Durham Muslim community’s hub (yay! finally!).  It was spring break, and with time on our hands, we decided to stop and browse.  My partner, who lived for some time in Jerusalem, was thrilled.  Though the selection of fresh vegetables was limited, we loaded up on lots of other goodies: a sturdy jug of Lebanese olive oil for $10, bulgur wheat (in lots of different sizes), fava beans, eggplant spread, pickled labneh, tahini, fresh pita…. There is also halal meat available, for nonveggies. 

I’ve been having a Middle Eastern spell lately, and this morning, I created my version of Ful Medames – a super easy, fast, delicious, and healthy breakfast.  It takes about 10 minutes and is fantastic with some pita bread, warmed and slightly crisped in the oven, and some soft or hard boiled eggs.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2


1 can fava beans, drained and rinsed

1 clove garlic, grated or mashed

Juice of half a lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. cumin powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Bunch of parsley, finely chopped

  1.  Drain and rinse the fava beans well under cold running water.  Place the beans in a pot and cover them with water (there should be at least 1″ more water than beans). Bring the water and beans to a boil on medium heat.  Let the beans boil for about 8 minutes, until soft.
  2. While the beans are boiling, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Transfer the beans into the bowl and mix well.
  4. Using a fork, lightly mash the fava beans, making sure to leave some unmashed, so that you have different textures.
  5. Serve with pita/bread and/or some eggs!


Going Analog

The (re)turn to analog has taken the food, music, art, and culture scene by storm. The massive popularity of analog synthesizers in electronic music has its, well, analog, in cooking as well, with artisanal edibles, the turn to canning, the move to slow cooking, etc. The movement has its critics—it can be elitist, bourgeois, and obnoxious. These things bother me as well, along with the fact that the basic contradiction that DIY, back-to-basics, Etsy things cost a fortune and ultimately rest on increased consumption. (This is, of course, nothing new, and speaks to the way capitalism hungrily incorporates its own critiques. See the history of punk). At the same time, the base impulse—the desire to return to simplicity, freshness, and homemade things—seems not entirely unworthy.

I’ve been reluctant to make hummus from scratch (i.e. the analog way), probably because, like you, I tried it a few times and it came out grainy, thick, and weirdly colored, and because its not atrociously expensive at the grocery store and is of passable (not great) quality, and because the only decent recipe I found called for removing the skins of individual chickpeas one by one and the thought of that made me want to put my eyes out. Thus, there is much in the ‘against making hummus at home, from scratch,’ column. I understand.

However, after impulsively buying a 5-kilo bag of chickpeas from the Indian store, I decided, with trepidation, to rethink my approach and to go for it. I found a recipe that was definitely analog by my standards, requiring 12 hours of foresight (the chickpeas have to be soaked overnight or all day), which is not usually how my cooking happens temporally speaking. However, the recipe saved me from shelling individual chickpea heads and for that, I was already grateful. That is, until I scooped up the luscious, creamy deliciousness that is—and can be—hummus. I couldn’t stop licking the spoon I used to scoop this up with. This is so, so, so good. A revelation.



From: http://food52.com/recipes/22888-yotam-ottolenghi-sami-tamimi-s-basic-hummus

Prep time: 12 hours+

Serves: 6


1 ¼ cup dried chickpeas

1 tsp. baking soda

6 ½ cups water

1 cup tahini

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, crushed

6 ½ tablespoons ice cold water


Good quality olive oil, to serve (optional)

Zatar, as garnish (optional)

  1. The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  3. Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for about five minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  4. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Optionally, to serve, top with a layer of good quality olive oil. This hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.