Sunday, June 13, 2010

Suzie's Fast Fava Beans

Warren came back from teaching his Eastern Nutrition class raving about a dish that one of his students, Suzie Husami, had prepared—a version of a Middle Eastern offering called foul mdamas (also transliterated from the Arabic as ful medammas or foul medammas). Suzie was completing an assignment to bring in food reflecting her ethnic heritage and to interpret it in terms of Chinese medicine.

Suzie calls the dish "Foul Mdamas the Easy Way," writing: "It's almost silly for me to call this dish 'the easy way' as it is quite possibly the easiest dish to prepare anyway... but using canned fava beans makes it so easy I almost have a hard time considering it actual cooking. There is nothing to stop you from buying and preparing dry fava beans. Of course this is the traditional method to prepare the mid-East dish." In terms of Chinese medicine, Suzie recommends this dish for strengthening the Spleen and Kidney qi to counteract fatigue.

While Suzie didn't include quantities in her recipe since "taste as you go and cook with intention and your own personal style" is a central theme of Middle Eastern cooking in particular and home cooking in general, I have included guidelines here in case they are helpful the first time you try your hand at the recipe.

Suzie's Fast Fava Beans


1 20-ounce can fava beans (also known as broad beans)
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 - 2 ounces parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Drain the canned beans.
  2. Stir in the garlic.
  3. Heat the mixture until warm.
  4. Sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley, stirring if desired.
When I tried this recipe, the canned fava beans were indeed super-easy to cook with, but I will note that I had to go to a Middle Eastern specialty store (San Diego's Balboa International Market, which also stocks fresh and dried favas) to find them. My local natural foods store did, however, offer dried fava beans, which I understand you let soak overnight, then boil for an hour to prepare (if you get the kind with the skin on, you will also need to take the extra step of removing this tough casing).

The end product was, indeed, delicious. Thanks, Suzie!

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