Ful medames (egyptian brown bean stew)

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds Ful beans; soaked (available in speciality Asian/Near East stores; other varieties of dried beans can be substituted; but the flavour will differ)
1 tablespoon Freshly ground cumin
6 \N Cloves crushed garlic
4 \N Hard-boiled eggs; shelled and coarsely chopped
1 \N Handful chopped cilantro
1 small Handful chopped fresh mint
2 \N Quartered lemons
1 medium Sweet onion (bermuda; vidalia; spanish, red), sliced
\N \N Good quality olive oil
\N \N Freshly ground black pepper
\N \N Salt

Says the _New Internationalist Food Book_ (by Troth Wells, published by Second Story Press, Oxford, 1990) : <Ful is the Egyptian word for bean and Medames describes the variety used; a brown, round broad bean. This is a popular meal with both rich and poor in Eqypt, eaten in the fields, sold in bazaars and Ful cares, even served in luxury hotels and restaurants. The eggs, onions, oil and lemon are served separately for people to help themselves.> The following recipe is my adaptation of that given in the Food Book.

Heat oven to 300 F.

Put the soaked, drained beans into a baking dish with a cover and pour in enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Add half the cumin, lots of black pepper, and the garlic. Cook slowly in the over, covered, for 3-4 hours, until the beans are very soft but not broken up, and the juice is thick.

Meanwhile, put the eggs, cilantro, mint, lemon, and onion into separate dishes on the table.

When the beans are ready, salt them and add the rest of the cumin and ¼ cup of olive oil. Serve in the baking dish at the table and invite people to addtheir own eggs, mint, cilantro and lemon juice on top, and more olive oil as needed to give a smooth consistency.

This is good served with warm pita bread and a tomato/onion/cucumber/ mint/olive salad with a light yogurt and garlic dressing. Some people like to add a dash of hot sauce. Joanne Cook Halifax, Nova Scotia jcook@...



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