Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Foul Medames

While I was away last week my husband discovered a new felafel joint had opened not far from where we live in Bristol called Falafel King. Actually they've been around for a while at gigs and other shows and have a stall down on the docks but they now have a posh new takeaway and café in Cotham.

It was buzzing when we got down there at lunchtime - justifiably so in terms of the size of the portions. £4.50 will buy you a monster wrap smothered with hummus and topped with lovely light puffy felafel (much, much better than the ones I attempted last year), two different slaws and whatever else you want to add: pickles, sumac and tahini, chilli or sour mango sauce.

But having ordered it what I actually wanted was my husband's foul medames, a super tasty dish of hummus topped with rich, dark earthy fava beans (pictured in the rather murky, blurry picture above)

He knew to order it because he once lived in Cairo where it was his daily lunch - at about 2p a throw. Ironically it's also an Israeli street food, one of the strangest things about the bitter Middle East conflict being that Israelis and Arabs eat very similar dishes. (In Egypt it's known as Ful)

I suspect you'd find a definitive recipe for this ultra-frugal dish in Claudia Roden's superb New Middle Eastern Food which I lent a while ago to my son and realise he hasn't given back or try this version from About.com. Wikipedia also has quite an informative entry. I'll have a go at it myself as soon as I can find the right beans.

Have any of you made foul medames? If so do you have a good recipe to share?

12 comments:

recipes2share said...

I haven't, but the best falafel I've made was the cranks recipe - a mixture of canned and canned chickpeas. Can't reproduce the recipe (copyright) but take a peek in their book, as dated as it is now.

Fiona Beckett said...

Think I've got it packed away somewhere so I'll look it up. I used to LOVE Cranks. Those homity pies were good too and those fabulous salads. (All of which dates me a bit!)

recipes2share said...

I agree and I take real pleasure in looking at some of my older books and re-trying past favourites!

local lass said...

Was that the Cranks Recipe Book or Entertaining with Cranks? I've only got Cranks Fast Food (excellent). Claudia R's Mediterranean Cookery advises making falafel Egyptian style with fava beans. I have a small hoard I brought back from Spain - so now I'm in a quandary - ful or falafel? both? The one constant in all the recipes I can find in my huge stash of 400+ (post purge) books is that raw, soaked chick peas are the way to go for falafel. Anyone know of a supplier of fava beans?

Fiona Beckett said...

Hopefully recipes2share will be able to answer your first query local lass.
Should be able to track it down through Amazon or abebooks.co.uk

As you can make felafel with chickpeas I'd be inclined to save the fava beans for ful/foul for which you have to have the authentic beans. Should be able to find them in a middle eastern grocer. Not sure where online but Googling them should reveal the answer.

I'm impressed you've purged your cookbooks btw. Wish I could say the same!

recipes2share said...

The book I have is The New Cranks Recipe Book, which isn't quite so anymore! Hope this helps...

local lass said...

Thanks, recipes2share. My library has a copy so I will resist the temptation to add it to my groaning shelves

realfoodlover said...

I love the Falafel King, a fixture down at the docks for several years. And now a proper cafe in Cotham - marvellous. I make hummus every week but have never made foul medames - I would love to know how.

As for a shared middle-eastern diet, as someone says in The Spark's May 2009 feature: "Jews and Muslims have more in common than what separates them."

Mal's Allotment said...

Yet to arrive in Edinburgh.

Another Crank + Rodin Fan.

(All the same the profit margins on these vegetarian joints must be fantastic considering the cost of the ingredients.)

Mal

Anonymous said...

I used to get tins of foul medames in st marks road easton, I noticed they sold ones that had been seasoned/spiced, but I bought the plain ones and warmed them up in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. I live on ashley road now and get them from one of the shops on my road (the international) only 35p a tin so very good value as well as delicious!! I am sure there are many other small shops that sell them if you are willing to venture out of the predominantly white middle class cotham, just head downhill!! :-)

Rumela said...

Thanks for the foul medames recipe. Last summer I ate them at a party and has been looking for an authentic recipe ever since. Now I will be able to make them myself. Thanks again.

Christopher Bingham said...

I can get 5 tins of foul medames for a pound or a case of 12 for two pounds, best before Dec 2010 of course, from the local market.

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