13 July 2010
Crabby Fava Bean Mash aka Crabby Ful Medames
Get yourself some fava beans. Sometimes they are called broad beans. I used fresh ones and boiled them until they had softened up (do the same thing with frozen ones), but if you use dry ones, soak them overnight, drain them, and boil them in fresh water for a few hours, until soft.
In a separate pan, fry chopped onions in some oil (I always use grapeseed oil because it has no flavour and has a high smoke point). When the onions turn clear, add some ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, thyme, crushed chili flakes, paprika, chopped fresh ginger (or that ground ginger powdered stuff, if you fancy), and chopped garlic. Fry a little more, so everything smells nice. (FYI, I just learned that frying your spices in oil is called 'blooming' -- spices are oil soluble, so to really max out your spice flavour, always heat them in a little oil before adding them to dishes.)
Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and your cooked fava beans (not the liquid, although you should reserve some for later, just in case you want to thin out the dish). In this case, I also added some chopped radish greens because I had them lying around (we are growing some in our little garden this summer).
Once everything is starting to bubble, turn off the heat and dump everything into a blender or food processor -- pulse it a few times. You still want it to be chunky. Add some reserved fava bean liquid to thin it out, if desired. Stir in some lemon juice and chopped parsley or cilantro. (I didn't have any, which is why you can't see any in the picture. Whoops!)
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and toasted pitta.
Egyptians are really into fava beans and eat a variation of this dish for breakfast. They are so into fava beans they even use them in falafel, sparking a big debate around the Mediterranean over whether or not traditional falafel should have garbanzo beans or fava beans in it. That's what I read on Wikipedia, at least.