Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on May 2, 2015

Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.comAs a child, I was always aware of the rich cultural influences that surrounded me. My mother often spoke about day trips to the pyramids that she and her family would enjoy, and my dad would tell us stories about what it was like to work as a tour guide at the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs. I wasn’t one of those kids that would cringe when given a writing assignment at school, but rather looked forward to sharing stories about ancient history and mythology. I found myself mesmerized by documentaries that took viewers deep into the recently excavated tombs, revealing artifacts that had not been seen by the human eye for thousands of years. It is no wonder that I briefly contemplated a career in archaeology.  I say briefly because I am not known for my patience. Embarking on a career that would require years to unearth one ancient town or village along with its monuments and artifacts would not have fit my definition of being productive — throw in the searing high temperatures and grains of sand in every crevice of your body, and you will understand what I mean. It’s so much better to discover all of this history in a condensed documentary sitting in a comfortable chair with something delicious to eat.

I often write about the foods I grew up with, and as I got older I realized that many of these foods were not only traditional but also historical. In many ancient texts, it has been revealed that our ancestors relied heavily on ancient grains, legumes, dried fruits and some vegetables. Meat was always a luxury and reserved only for the wealthy.

Ful Mudammas (pronounced fool  mou- dah-mahs) is one of those quick, vegetarian meals that sustained entire populations. It is made from something called a broad bean – named as such because it is flat and wide. You may also know it more readily as fava bean. Broad beans are considered one of the most ancient plants in cultivation today, and surprisingly enough, they are fairly easy to grow because of their hardiness.

Originally, the plant was native to North Africa and South/Southwest Asia, but it quickly spread to other ancient cultures in Greece, Italy, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan/India, Eastern Iran, South America and all over the Middle East.

I have a difficult time finding the dried beans in the store, so when I visit the international markets I pick up a few cans of cooked beans to have at home for a quick meal. My family used to make it by using a fork to mash the beans into a paste and would then add olive oil, lemon juice, fresh parsley, salt, pepper and cumin. I also like to add a little onion and garlic powder for a nicer flavor and fragrance. Depending on how much time I have, I will either do the same with a fork or use my mortar and pestle to get them even smoother. The resulting paste should be quite thin, like a thickened soup. You can eat this as is or top it with some diced tomatoes, cucumbers and boiled eggs. Spread it on some bread and make a sandwich with all of the ingredients or scoop it up in from your plate with some fresh pita or simit bread. I have even enjoyed this with a fresh, crusty French baguette. It is one of the national dishes of Egypt and is enjoyed by everyone for breakfast every single day.

Ful Mudammas (enough for 1-2 people)
1 cup canned fava beans (1 can usually has about 2-3 cups)
¼ cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1-2 small lemons
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 hard boiled egg
½ tomato, diced
1 small cucumber, diced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
S&P to taste
Pita bread, Simit or any other crusty bread

Add  the canned fava beans to a sieve and rinse well, then place them in a medium sized bowl or your mortar and pestle.

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Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Mash all the beans together and then add all of the lemon juice. Once the lemon juice has been added, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mash again. At this point, add the onion and garlic powders and cumin. Incorporate this well, then add S&P to taste. I usually start with a few good pinches of each.

Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Peel the hard boiled egg and either dice or mash this with a fork too. Wash the tomatoes and remove the seeds, then dice them, and also dice the cucumbers into bite size pieces. Add in the fresh parsley and stir it in gently, then top with cucumber, tomato and egg. Add the lemon zest and drizzle the last tablespoon of olive oil on top of everything. You may also want to add a little S&P on top of this,  If you prefer, you can add all of the oil into the mashed beans rather than saving the last tablespoon as a garnish. The beans need to be made into a very creamy paste and this quantity of olive oil will give you the right mouth feel—I would not use any less. Serve with fresh warm bread.

Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Traditional & Historical Ful Mudammas, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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