Ok..so this is where I begin revealing part of the complex and colorful
mosaic created by my roots..
This part is called ‘Egypt’ and I have enthusiastically embraced many aspects of this culture.I remember growing up,every friday evening,watching the Egyptian movies with my father,having so much fun mimicking the melodramatic phrases in Arabic of the actors and waiting impatiently for the belly dancer to commence her moves so I can join in with her..!
Naima Akef Belly Dancing in the Egyptian Movie
A large part of this cultural effect in my life has been the food! And there is no talking about Egyptian food without beginning respectfully with what might probably be the most important and ancient dish- ”Ful Medames” , a dish said to be dated from the pharaos,originally considered a food for the ”poor”,eaten today by all ,mainly as a hearty breakfast preparing for a full day of work,as it is so filling and energy boosting.
The dish is made of fava beans,the small knobbly type,though some people use the larger broad kidney shaped type.When fresh these beans are originally green,as they dry they gradually turn from a green color to brown.I am stating this because some people (like me) find that waiting for them to turn brown is worth while as they gain an added flavor.
Enough chitter chatter…
Down to business-
Soak the beans in lots of water early the prior evening(about 12 hrs).
Next morning,rinse and put the beans in a pot with plenty of water,add a large nice and ripe tomato cut in quarters; a large onion also cut in quarters and some ground cumin and bring to a boil,cover the pot and simmer on a very low heat for about 2-3 hrs.Check that the beans should be quite soft but don`t overcook them, as they harden again.
Now,this is the fun part!
Some like their ful then cooked in a nice Tomato sauce,with rice on the side.While I agree it`s a nice version,there is still nothing like the Classic-
Place cooked beans in a shallow soup plate,sprinkle salt,pepper, ground Cumin,top with Olive oil and chopped fresh Parsley/Coriander,squeezed Lemon juice and…last but definitely not least-Tahin sauce-which is a bulk sesame paste,(available especially wherever you buy Middle Eastern products),diluted in water and fresh Lemon juice(stirring well until smooth paste obtained),adding salt and a bit of ground Cumin,to which some like adding chopped fresh Parsley and crushed Garlic.
Et Voila…Now,the original version takes on a hardboiled egg ,but we will gladly omit that part,since we are Vegans, right?
The Traditional way to eat this is by crushing the beans with the fork while mixing in all the other ingredients,scooping it up to your delight with hand-torn pieces of fresh pita bread and a nice Oriental salad made of chopped Lettuce,tomato and cucumber (seasoned with Olive oil,Lemon juice,salt and pepper)on the side,without forgetting the Olives of-course!