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Monday, February 19, 2007

Ful Mudammas

One of my favorite dishes, Ful is not only difficult to find, it is difficult to get accurate information about the beans and difficult to spell, owing to transliteration from the Arabic. You will see Ful, Foul, Fool and Fuul in combination with Mudammas, Medames, Medammas, Moudammas and Medammis. Wikipedia is just as confused - it has two separate entries with no cross reference - Ful Medames and Foul Madammas. Commonly called fava bean salad or Egyptian bean salad, the dish is known as one of the national dishes of Egypt -"the rich man's breakfast, the shopkeeper's lunch, the poor man's supper." It is also made in many other parts of the Arab world with a myriad of variations. Keep in mind, that although it is frequently called fava bean salad, there are three types of fava beans (ful hammam, ful rumi and ful baladi). The broad beans commonly available in super markets (ful rumi) are NOT the ones used. The smallest (ful hammam) is the one used for this dish. For the best synopsis of the history, ingredients and regional variations, click here. Even with its popularity in the Arab world and the all the restaurants in NYC, there are only a handful of places in all of NYC that make this dish - most Middle Eastern restaurants do not even offer it on their menu. The photo was taken at First Oasis restaurant in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, where I travel to get ful. The owner, Said Albahari, previously owned Magic Carpet Restaurant on Carmine Street in Manhattan, where I first became acquainted with this delicious meal. This version is Lebanese style - prepared like a stew with olive oil, tahini, tomatoes, garlic and other spices and served warm. Perhaps its lack of popularity is due to two popular spellings - Foul or Fool :)

6 comments:

Lucy said...

This is very in-depth on one of the ethnic cuisines popular in NYC, especially for vegetarians -- Bay Ridge has a reputation as being Italian but I was surprised to find out they have a large Middle Eastern population too, going way back...

Ming_the_Merciless said...

I've never had it before, nor heard of it. I will have to try it out. I do love the sour pickled radish and tahini seen on the dish. I used to live in Astoria and there is a huge Arabic population there, esp. on Steinway.

tim @take3eggs.com said...

It sounds delicious despite the confusion over the name!

Brian said...

Perhaps with a new trendy name and some marketing, Ful can become the next big food thing.
Brian

isabella said...

Not crazy about the beans, but your/restaurant's presentation is very elegant! Bon appetite!

Hungry Traveller said...

nice